WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Lake County Community Foundation has launched a program designed to help minority-owned businesses and the first grant recipient says he'll pay it forward.
The Small Business Growth Initiative is designed to address racial disparities, according to the foundation.
“We know that small businesses are the backbone of our community and recognize the need to provide access to capital,” said LCCF Executive Director Maggie Morales in a statement. “With the SBGI program, we envision a thriving and equitable small business community in Lake County.”
Courtney Combs, the manager of Community Impact, said pandemic shutdowns were the genesis.
"There needed to be relief for those small business owners to ensure that they would still be sustainable and viable."
The first grant is for $50,000 for the Drip and Culture Coffee Shop in Waukegan.
The coffee shop, she said, will be able to move into a better, more visible space, and will be able to help other small, minority-owned businesses.
Adam Carson is the owner of the business who’s tagline is “Socially-Minded Coffee”.
"Not only do we believe we can serve really innovative drinks and really good coffee, but we really want to take our profits and be like social entrepreneurs", he said.
Nydia Gonzalez co-own the shop with Carson.
“Our hope is that we can leverage the grant funds to not only improve our physical space, but also invest in other startup businesses," said the couple.
"Our fundamental belief is that communities like Waukegan are not seen as hubs for innovation, but we see entrepreneurship flourishing here in the community and want to support it in any way we can."