Magic City Match Grant Program boosting Black-owned business bottom line

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Recipients of the inaugural Magic City Match program have been announced. The pilot program was specifically designed to help black-owned businesses. More than two dozen companies won thousands of dollars, but the grand prize winner is Oasis Family Birthing Center owner Dr. Heather Skanes.

“I feel extremely blessed and I feel like this is basically a divine confirmation. Like, go ahead and do this and take it to the women of Alabama,” Dr. Skanes said.

It will now expand its business to offer outpatient delivery services. This expansion is exactly why Prosper Birmingham, REV Birmingham, IGNITE! Alabama and Urban Impact Inc. they worked together to create the Magic City Match program.

“We are confident that these businesses are now equipped and ready to move to the next level,” IGNITE said! Torin Darling Brazzle, executive director of Alabama.

One such business is Thrive Wellness Lounge. Company owner Tish Fletcher received $ 25,000 for her business and plans to move to a brick-and-mortar establishment in late summer.

“There’s a weight that’s been lifted. Now I can open much sooner. Now I can pay my rent in advance.” Getting the stress away from me to where I can really focus on creating products for the my customers and store the shelves with fantastic products, ”Fletcher said.

Not all businesses are in the health field, but all homeowners are passionate. This includes Cameron Crummie, a Birmingham native and car enthusiast. He owns truck accessories and MDV SUVs and believes the training he received as a scholarship winner will be as important as the money he earned for his business.

“You don’t know what you’re doing and it’s a scary road, but over the course of the eight weeks of this business academy, each week is something different from your business to learn. What will make it better? What will make it stronger?” said Crummie.

The difficult questions are the ones the organizers felt employers needed to answer. Even create companies.

“It really helped us develop the backend of our business. I feel like we’re a lot further away now that we’ve gone through class,” said Jihaaya Muhammad, co-owner of Urban Soul Cafe.

Both Muhammad and Alexis Kimbrough believe the $ 25,000 will be vital in limiting their initial costs. They also believe that programs like the Magic City Match are huge to help black-owned businesses shine.

“I am very pleased with these organizations, these companies and these companies that are benefiting, but we are excited about what will come next,” said Dee Manyama, director of Prosper Initiatives.

These companies will still have advisers to help them spend their grant allocations, this way these companies are more likely to increase results, for themselves and Birmingham.


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