ASCEND Grant Applications Open for BIPOC Entrepreneurs

Advancing Springfield’s Commitment to Entrepreneurship, Networking and Diversity

The Downtown Springfield Association (DSA), Multicultural Business Association (MBA), Missouri SBDC at MSU and efactory are excited to partner with U.S. Bank to provide support for BIPOC small business development through a new initiative called ASCEND – Advancing Springfield’s Commitment to Entrepreneurship, Networking & Diversity. The program provides grant awards to support small business creation and growth among BIPOC business owners in downtown Springfield, Missouri. 

Through a new $25,000 grant made possible by US Bank, up to five BIPOC business owners will receive a grant to start their business in Center City Springfield. Grants will be awarded by working with the identified needs of the new business and in conjunction with existing resources from the Springfield Finance & Development CorporationCity of Springfield, efactory, Missouri SBDC at MSU and other community organizations. This grant program is designed for new and expanding businesses with storefront locations in Center City Springfield.

Grant recipients chosen to receive the $5,000 award must commit to the following milestones for engagement:

– Meet with representatives from US Bank and City of Springfield Loan Officer to explore financing options.
– Complete one training program through the Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at MSU and efactory to strengthen
the owner’s professional development (offered at no-charge to the award recipient).
– Engage in one-on-one assistance provided at no-charge with the Missouri SBDC at MSU.
– Attend one Multicultural Business Association meeting to interact with minority business owners and advocates.
– Meet with DSA Communications Manager to learn about leveraging Downtown communications.
– Attend one DSA Mixer to connect with fellow Downtown business owners and stakeholders.

Additional support for grant recipients provided by the efactory and Missouri SBDC at MSU:

– Dedicated business consultant to assist with business guidance (e.g. business planning, financial projections, strategic planning).
– Access to Office Hours program for no-cost meetings with professional service providers including
accountants, attorneys, and lenders. 
– Access to Mentorship Program for no-cost meetings with business mentors who provide honest advice and practical feedback based on personal experience.
– 50% discount on further Missouri SBDC at MSU and efactory training programs.
– Three 10-Day coworking passes at the efactory.
– 50% off conference room and meeting space reservations.
– One year Downtown Springfield Association (DSA) membership.
– One year Multicultural Business Association (MBA) membership.

Apply for ASCEND Grant Program

The deadline to apply for the ASCEND grant program is April 29, 2022. Learn more from the Downtown Springfield Association.