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Black-owned businesses in mid-Michigan can get a boost through new accelerator program

$120,000 earmarked for new Elevate program
PNC and LEAP team up to give Black-owned businesses a leg up with new program
Posted at 5:41 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 17:41:07-05

LANSING, Mich. — Black businesses statistically face more struggles in growing their businesses compared to their white counterparts. One such issue is getting equal access to financial support.

Since 2000 its estimated that America’s economy has lost nearly $16 trillion because of discrimination against Black people. That's according to a report by Citi Group.

“That goes for everything from red lining. The effects of not being able to get a mortgage in that realm," said LEAP's chief equity development officer Tony Willis. "Also, unfavorable lending practices which didn’t allow Black people to get loans or lines of credit and all those things that have an impact on growing a vibrant business economy in that space."

So the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and PNC Bank are coming together to bridge the gap by rolling out a new accelerator program called Elevate, which will give $120,000 to various businesses.

The program will select eight Black-owned businesses in Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties to take part in a six-month program where they will get tools and learn from industry experts on how to take their businesses to the next level.

“During that program each entrepreneur will get their own individualized work plan and the ideal is to focus on these three components. Revenue, profitability and prominence. We want to increase money and sales. We know that money is the lifeblood of the business. Looking at operational efficiencies and how much the business can save,” said Willis.

PNC regional president Tim Salisbury says when Lansing's diverse community succeeds... we all succeed.

“We’ve done this for years by really investing in our communities. We think the better the community is for our customers, the better it is for our employees, the better we will do in the long run,” said Salisbury.

The Elevate program is accepting applications now through March 22.

Click here to apply for the Elevate program.

This year’s participants will be announced in April.

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