Technical assistance

People of Color Small Business Relief Program

MANCHESTER, NH (AP) — The Manchester NAACP and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund are launching an effort to provide financing and coaching to small businesses owned by people of color.

The initiative began with interviews with 45 Greater Manchester business owners who identify as black, indigenous or of colour, about their strengths, challenges and what their businesses need to succeed.

Interviews revealed that business owners were generally resourceful and resilient and had great relationships with their customers. But many said they faced challenges with technology, funding and accounting. Few felt connected to commercial institutions, such as banks or industry groups.

The goal of the pilot program is to bring people of color together as a community to create a more resilient local economy, the organizations said in a press release. It draws on the work of the Manchester NAACP to promote equal economic opportunity and the economic development experience of the Community Loan Fund.

One of the goals is a Community Business Development Council, a voluntary group of business owners who will identify and refer peers who could benefit from technical assistance and loans.