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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 1, 2020) – In 20 years, Fabiola Francis, owner of the catering company Simply Fabulous, has never had a layoff. But since the COVID-19 lockdown, she is down to just two part-time employees.

“Because of the lockdown, we lost more than 80 percent of our revenue,” said Francis. “We’re using our savings to stay open.”

Simply Fabulous is just one of 11 small inner city businesses throughout Memphis that received relief Friday as they deal with the affects of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The EDGE Economic Development Finance Committee approved grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 for the businesses at its virtual meeting Friday morning.

“This grant will go a long way in helping us stay open and pay our employees. It will also be key as we retool our model and explore new delivery options,” said Francis.

In all, the committee provided more than $62,000 in funds to the businesses that are spread throughout Memphis, from Orange Mound to Whitehaven, to North Memphis. The range of businesses – a staffing company, a restaurant/bar, a distributor and a barber shop among others – shows just how far reaching this crisis has been for the local business community. You can learn more about each business by clicking below:

The Neighborhood Emergency Economic Development (NEED) Grant was created to provide relief to small businesses, located in Memphis’ most vulnerable neighborhoods that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Who is Eligible?

  • Locally-owned businesses in operation with proper licenses and permits prior to March 1, 2019 and in continuous operation through March 15, 2020
  • Must demonstrate a 25% or greater loss of revenue due to COVID-19
  • Located in a New Markets Tax Credit Qualified Census Tract within the City of Memphis
  • Annual revenue less than $1,000,000
  • Must be current on all City of Memphis and Shelby County Property Taxes or have an approved payment plan in place
  • Preference will be given to projects that directly benefit their neighborhood
  • EDGE will waive the requirement that businesses be operational for at least one year for ICED Loan recipients.