Institute Resources

Need Technical Assistance or Small Business Counseling?

The Women's Business Centers and South Atlantic Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC) are here to help!

Women's Business Center of Charlotte

Contact Rocio Gonzalez
(704) 509-7010

Women's Business Center of North Carolina

Contact Suling Walker
(919) 956-8889


Contact Alyssa Mako
(919) 956-2331

The Impact of COVID-19 on NC's Small Businesses?

The Institute, in partnership with the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte, Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council, Hispanic Contractors Association of the Carolinas, NC Vet Biz Association, Disability: In NC, LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Urban League of Central Carolinas, and several other community partners, surveyed small diverse owned businesses with 50 or less employees to better understand how COVID-19 is impacting businesses in North Carolina.

We had 468 responses in a 5-day time frame.  The majority of responders are sole proprietors with less than 10 employees.  The results are both concerning and encouraging.  Six key recommendations for state and local government officials were identified from the survey results.

The summary of the results of this and subsequent surveys are shared below, showing the impact COVID-19 is having over time.

Community Partners

The following community partners are part of the coalition created to survey small businesses in North Carolina.  These partners can also provide supports to small businesses around our state.

Small Business Resources

Nationwide Resources

The Red Backpack Fund

The Red Backpack Fund

Application Deadline:  Applications will be accepted from April through August of 2020.

Geographic Scope: USA

The Red Backpack Fund, an initiative of The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation managed by GlobalGiving, will make at least 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the immediate needs and support the long-term recovery of those impacted by this crisis. Eligible applicants include majority women-owned businesses and nonprofits with annual revenues less than $5M, at least one additional paid employee, and fewer than 50 individuals on staff.

Facebook for Business: Small Business Grants Program

Facebook for Business: Small Business Grants Program

Application Deadline:  varies by location

Geographic Scope: USA

Geographic Focus: communities where Facebook operates The Facebook for Business Small Business Grants

Program is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to help small business, including funds to keep workforces going strong, help with rent costs, connect with more customers, and cover operational costs. Eligible businesses must be for-profit companies, have between 2 and 50 employees, have been in business for over a year, have experienced challenges from COVID-19, and be in or near a location where Facebook operates.

GoFundMe: Small Business Relief Fund

GoFundMe: Small Business Relief Fund

Application Deadline:  none

Geographic Scope: USA

Small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus crisis can sign up on GoFundMe to start a fundraiser to benefit their small business. If the business raises $500 on their GoFundMe and meets certain eligibility criteria, they may be considered to receive a $500 matching grant from the Small Business Relief Fund.

Hello Alice: COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant

Hello Alice: COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant

Application Deadline:  none

Geographic Scope: USA

The COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant supports small business owners impacted by coronavirus. In addition to funding, grant recipients will receive ongoing support from the Hello Alice community.

Omidyar Network: COVID-19 Economic Response Advocacy Fund

Omidyar Network: COVID-19 Economic Response Advocacy Fund

Application Deadline:  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis throughout 2020.

Geographic Scope: USA

The Omidyar Network COVID-19 Economic Response Advocacy Fund plans to infuse 501(c)(4) funding into national, state, and local advocacy and organizing efforts aimed at passing economic stimulus to address the immediate toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on working people while reshaping our economic structure to ensure they are less vulnerable in the future. Omidyar Network will award $1.5 million to groups working to realign this nation’s economic policies and systems so that they work better for everyone. The majority of the grants from the Fund will be for $75,000 or less.

One Fair Wage Emergency Fund

One Fair Wage Emergency Fund

Application Deadline:  none

Geographic Scope: USA

The One Fair Wage Emergency Fund is providing cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers, and more who need the money they aren’t getting to survive. At the moment, the Fund is prioritizing tipped workers, gig workers and service workers in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. However, they are currently taking applications nationally and are actively raising money to support workers in all states as soon as possible.

Southern Smoke: Emergency Relief Program

Southern Smoke: Emergency Relief Program

Application Deadline: none

Geographic Scope: USA

The Emergency Relief Program provides emergency funding to restaurant and bar owners and employees, as well as restaurant supplier employees, who are facing unforeseen expenses that cannot or will not be covered by insurance.

Wellness Relief Fund

Wellness Relief Fund:  Reclamation Ventures has opened a grant opportunity to cover one month of missed revenue (up to $2,500) for wellness spaces and wellness instructors that represent underestimated communities.

Application deadline: April 30, 2020

U.S. Department of Transportation COVID-19 FAQs

The U.S. Department of Transportation has assembled a list of FAQs to assist small business with questions around federal funding programs.  View the resources site here.

CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund:  A portion of the CARES Act has been designated to assist higher education students and institutions.  View the website to find information on relief in the following areas:

  • Student Aide
  • Higher Education Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Tribally Control Colleges and Universities
  • Minority Serving Institutions
  • Strengthening Institutions Programs

View full details of the relief fund here.

LISC Small Business Relief Grant

LISC Small Business Relief Grant:  LISC is one of the country's largest social enterprises supporting projects and programs to revitalize underserved communities and bring greater economic opportunity to residents.  Applicants may apply for one business only and must be 18 years of age to apply.  Non-profit organizations are ineligible for this particular pool of relief funding.

  • Read grant eligibility here.
  • Apply here.
Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund:  Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is offering grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps until they can resume normal operations or until other more permanent financing becomes available.  These grants were made possible by a $2.5 million gift from Verizon.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act:  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency. These loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.

The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan.

Database: Agencies & Private Sector Supports

Database: Agencies & Private Sector Supports:  This database includes government agencies and private sector entities providing supports across the country.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs)

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs):  This is a working capital loan for businesses located in a declared county and suffering working capital losses due to the declared disaster.  All businesses are eligible to apply.  Eligible entities may qualify for loans up to $2 million.  The interest rates for this disaster are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years.  Eligibility for these working capital loans are based on the size (must be a small business) and type of business and its financial resources.  For additional information:

COVID-19 Supplier Matchmaker

COVID-19 Supplier Matchmaker:  CVMSDC is working in conjunction with the Michigan Council to match MBEs and Corporations to fill immediate emergency needs.  The site allows those interested in buying products OR services to input their needs and requirements in order to be matched with those that meet their specifications.  In addition, those who are selling products OR services may share their capacity in order to be matched. 

  • MBEs: If you have a Product or service to sell, please log in and complete the Seller portion of the application. Be very strategic in how you can PIVOT and retool your business to address immediate needs. Think outside the box – what can you do to SERVE at this time.
    • Some Current Examples:
      • A beverage company is now making hand sanitizer,
      • An Embroidery company is now making face masks,
      • Storage facilities are turning into make-shift factories.
  • Corporate Partners: If you are a Corporate Partner with an immediate need to buy products and service, please fill out the BUYER portion of the application.  Be as specific as possible.  Behind the scenes, our specialists will work to match you with the proper sellers.

Access the matchmaker tool here.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) The Express Bridge Loans (EBL) Pilot Program

The Express Bridge Loans (EBL) Pilot Program allows SBA Express Lenders to provide expedited financing to small businesses located in declared disaster areas.  The EBL Pilot Program is intended to serve as an interim loan.  Businesses may use these funds for disaster-related purposes while they apply for and await long-term financing.

Statewide Resources

The North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center offers legal help on COVID-19/CARES Act

The North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center is offering 45 min legal help on COVID-19/CARES Act inquiries for small business owners and non-profit organizations that have 25 or fewer employees.  See the link below for more information.  Learn more here.

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan:  North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loans are available in amounts up to $50,000 based on the business’s current revenue. Loans issued by the program have the following features:

  • Affordable interest rate of 5.5%.
  • Standard term of 4 years.
  • No interest and no payments required for the first six months.
  • No prepayment penalties.

This is not a grant program, and it is not intended to be a singular source of assistance.

Learn more and apply here.

View a PowerPoint presentation on the loan program here.

Visit the NC Rapid Recovery Loan website here.

Golden LEAF deploys $15M in funding to launch NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program

Golden LEAF deploys $15M in funding to launch NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program:  Funding will provide loans to help small business suffering economic losses related to COVID-19

North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan

North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan:   NCIFund is providing NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loans to help NC small businesses adapt and provide a timely source of bridge financing until businesses can access other relief funds.

Request to be Considered an Essential Business

Request to be Considered an Essential Business:  Businesses:  Businesses excluded from the list of COVID-19 Essential Businesses and Operations set forth in Executive Order 121 who believe that they may be essential may direct requests to be included to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.  Submit the request to be considered an Essential Business here.

N.C. Department of Revenue Offers Relief in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

N.C. Department of Revenue Offers Relief in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak:  The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have announced that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

  • Read more here:
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina Business Resources

Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina Business Resources:  This resource outlines guidelines for essential industries; information on low-interest lenders; and upcoming small business grant opportunities. 


NC Federal Contractor Web Conferences hosted by The North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC)

The North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) invites all businesses in North Carolina to participate in semi-weekly web conferences with co-hosts NCMBC, DEFTECH, SBA, NCPTAC, NC State Industry Expansion Solutions, NCDMVA (invited), EDPNC (invited) and other State resources during the COVID-19 crisis, beginning 31 MAR 2020. 


INTENT.  The intent of these web conference(s) is to:

  • sustain the defense/federal industrial base
  • keep small businesses engaged in the federal market
  • elicit/answer questions from businesses regarding: business support, business financing, federal contracting/technical issues and COVID-19/other federal acquisitions during 3Q and 4Q FY2020  

EXECUTION.  During each web conference, State agencies may brief significant opportunities, resources and processes for COVID-19/other federal acquisitions during FY2020.  Businesses may ask any questions regarding opportunities, processes to engage with federal agencies, contracting and technical issues and financing and other resources available to businesses in NC during the COVID-19 crisis.  


Schedule.  The NCMBC will schedule these web conferences on TUES and THU of each week: 

  • March 31, 2020 at 11:00
  • April 2, 2020 at 11:00
  • April 7, 2020 at 11:00
  • April 9, 2020 at 11:00
  • April 14, 2020 at 11:00
  • April 16, 2020 at 11:00
  • April 21, 2020 at 11:00
  • April 23, 2020 at 11:00
  • April 28, 2020 at 11:00
  • April 30, 2020 at 11:00

Registration.  The NCMBC will not pre-register participants; all businesses are welcome  

Platform.  The NCMBC will provide the Zoom infrastructure and “host” the conferences, see below for zoom meeting access information.  

Cost.  No charge for business participants 



Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 148 254 724

Password: 083525

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Regional Resources

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare COVID-19 Relief Fund: Request for Grant

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare COVID-19 Relief Fund: Cardinal Innovations has created the COVID-19 Relief Fund to support local responsiveness in a way that impacts the health, wellness and stability of vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19, particularly individuals with mental health conditions, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and/or substance use disorders.

Cardinal Innovations is committing an initial total fund amount of $1,000,000 to provide assistance where it is most needed. Requests for grants up to $20,000 will be accepted, with award amounts to be aligned with the number of people reached and overall impact.

    • Learn more about the relief fund here.
    • View the Request for Grant here.
    • Please contact Allison Stewart with any questions about this grant.

County & City Resources

Duke-Durham Fund: Emergency Relief for the Community
The Duke Office of Durham & Community Affairs will be making grant awards to nonprofit organizations from $500 to $5,000, depending on the number of clients served and indicated outcomes of the projects, with the hopes of reaching as many individuals and families in emergency need in our Durham community as we are able.
Grants to community-based organizations will be considered based on the following criteria:
  • Track record of serving individuals and families in Durham, especially most vulnerable populations
  • The ability to support individuals and families with immediate basic needs in the midst of COVID-19
  • Impact and reach
  • Evidence of 501(c)3 status 

Learn more and apply here.

City of Charlotte Micro Business Relief Fund

City of Charlotte Micro Business Relief Fund:  The City of Charlotte has partnered with LISC to deploy the Micro Business Relief Fund (MBRF). The MBRF is a $1,000,000 fund created to provide grants to support microenterprises financially impacted by COVID-19. The fund will provide grant capital up to $10,000 to eligible entities to assist in meeting urgent needs, including ongoing operational costs such as payroll, vendors, utilities, and rent.  

Mecklenburg County Disparity Study Virtual Public Hearing

Mecklenburg County Disparity Study Virtual Public Hearing:  Community members are invited to share their experiences, both positive and negative, doing business with and attempting to do business with the County. We encourage your participation and look forward to your feedback on how Mecklenburg County can improve diverse representation in public contracting.  Register here.

Raleigh Small Business COVID-19 Relief Funds

The City of Raleigh government has partnered with Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) to provide grant funds for qualifying small businesses that have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.

One Buncombe Fund Small Business Loans

One Buncombe Fund Small Business Loans:  The One Buncombe Fund provides bridge funding for Buncombe County-based small businesses in addition to supporting the basic needs of individuals who have lost employment due to COVID-19.  One Buncombe Fund small business loans are designed to be a flexible and rapid source of low-interest loan capital to help local Buncombe County business meet pressing needs and navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

Mecklenburg County Coronovirus Call Center Information

Nonprofit Business Resources

TECH Impact Free Webinars: March 30 - May 19

How to Set Up Microsoft Teams for First Time Users: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting It Right the First Time

Monday, March 30, 2:30-3:30 PM Eastern

Let our Microsoft Teams expert teach you the ins and outs of setting up Teams to facilitate seamless remote work with your colleagues and constituents—or just to keep in touch with your friends and families. Register

Remote Program Delivery: Adapting During COVID-19

Tuesday, March 31, 3:30-4:30 PM Eastern

Your nonprofit is closed and your staff is working remotely...but people need you now more than ever. How can you overcome the distance and circumstances to meet their needs? We’ll share some relatively quick and easy ways to offer programs and services virtually without sacrificing quality. Bring your examples and questions for our experts to answer. Register

My Fundraising Event Was Cancelled, Now What? Adapting During COVID-19

Wednesday, April 1, 3:30-4:30 PM Eastern

You’re working remotely and your planned methods of fundraising have been upended. How can you pivot to virtual events and still meet your goals? How do you shape your message to convey your organization’s urgent needs, stand out, and be sensitive the grim realities of a pandemic? In this webinar we’ll talk you through tools and techniques for fundraising during COVID-19, with a focus on events. We’ll have experts on hand to answer your questions. Register 

Panel Q&A: Remote Work During (and Beyond) COVID-19

Thursday, April 2, 3-4 PM Eastern

Bring your questions for our panel of experts, who will share their knowledge of the tools and best practices to create a successful work-from-home culture at your organization. Register

DMS Best Practices

Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 1:00 to 2:00 PM Eastern

Join us to learn about donor management software best practices, including customizing your system to your organization’s needs, cleaning data, defining data standards and coding, and the importance of training staff to enter and extract data efficiently. Register

Online Survey Tools and Techniques

Tuesday, May 19, 1 to 2 PM Eastern

We'll talk through the tools and best practices for designing a reputable online survey, recruiting participants, and analyzing the data. Register

Zoom Webinars & Training Tools For Working Remotely

Zoom Webinars & Training Tools For Working Remotely:  Through online trainings and webinars, Zoom shares strategies for working virtually, providing online education, and hosting virtual events.

United Way of Central Carolinas & Foundation for the Carolinas COVID-19 Response Fund

United Way of Central Carolinas & Foundation for the Carolinas COVID-19 Response Fund:  The COVID-19 Response Fund is a partnership comprising Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, corporations, houses of faith and others. The Fund will issue grants to eligible nonprofits able to meet existing needs. 

Individual Resources

Basic Needs Resources

United Way of Central Carolinas & Foundation for the Carolinas COVID-19 Response Fund

United Way of Central Carolinas & Foundation for the Carolinas COVID-19 Response Fund:  The COVID-19 Response Fund is a partnership comprising Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, corporations, houses of faith and others. The Fund’s goal is to help those individuals and families in Mecklenburg County most impacted by the pandemic, with a special emphasis on providing for the basic human needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents.  Apply and view guidelines here.

Veterans' Resources

Bunker Labs Virtual Town Hall: Panel Discussion

Bunker Labs Virtual Town Hall: Panel Discussion:  Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 1:30 PM PDT

Tune in for this Town Hall including 4 fantastic guests speakers from organizations leading the way in the veteran space. Hear as they share their insights and advice for military connected entrepreneurs in the current environment and participate in the live Q&A.  

Register to attend here.

PENFED Foundation

PENFED Foundation:  The COVID-19 Emergency Financial Relief Program was created to provide financial assistance to all Veterans, active military service members, and those currently serving in the Reserves and the National Guard who are experiencing a financial setback due to the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Independence Fund

The Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s severely wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. We are dedicated to improving the lives of both our Veterans and their families. Through our Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, Advocacy, and Family programs, The Independence Fund strives to bridge the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their Caregivers.

Modest Needs Organization

Operation First Response:  For many veterans and families, the financial hardship begins quickly and for others it is after the domino effect of extra costs and lost wages. At whatever stage they are in when they contact OFR they are committed to doing all we can to support these families. Application is on line.

Office of Service Members Affairs – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Office of Service Members Affairs – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:  The central mission of the CFPB is to make consumer financial products, services and markets work for all Americans.Within the CFPB, the OSA serves specifically to protect service members, military families and veterans from financial harm, while also working to make the military community better educated consumers.

Salute Heroes

Salute Heroes:  Since 2004, the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes has provided disabled American veterans from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom with millions of dollars worth of Emergency Financial Aid and support services.Application and eligibility requirements are on line.

Salute Inc.

Salute Inc.:  To passionately pursue meeting the financial, physical and emotional needs of military service members, veterans and their families. We strive to raise awareness of their sacrifices and provide a safety net to ensure every military family is treated with honor and dignity.

Semper Fi Fund

Semper Fi Fund:  The Semper Fi Fund (SFF) provides relief for financial needs that arise during hospitalization and recovery as well as assistance for those with perpetuating needs. Our program provides support in a variety of ways including: Service Member and Family Support, Specialized & Adaptive Equipment, Adaptive Housing, Adaptive Transportation, Education and Career Transition Assistance, Therapeutic Arts and Team Semper Fi. Needed resources are directed to post 9-11 Marines and Sailors, as well as members of the Army, Air Force or Coast Guard who serve in support of Marine forces.

USA Cares

USA Cares:  USA Cares provides financial and advocacy assistance to post 9/11 active duty US military service personnel, veterans and their families. We assist all branches of service, all ranks and components and treat all with privacy and dignity in appreciation for their service and sacrifice. We never charge fees nor accept repayment and rely on donations from private citizens, businesses and foundations for all funding.

Operation We Are Here

Operation We Are Here:  Provides financial emergency guidance, financial support and assistance, financial counseling and emergency loans, food assistance, and more.

Veterans Inc.

Veterans Inc.: The Veterans Inc. Supportive Services for Veterans and Veteran Families Program helps individuals and families who are homeless or at risk. If you meet the basic eligibility requirements, Veterans Inc. provides direct services and financial assistance to help search for housing, assist with initial rent costs, and pay for certain bills related to back rent or utilities.

A special thanks to LATINA Style, Inc. for sharing these veterans' resources.