Small Business Empowerment Program

Interior of a local Brazilian restaurant with the two owners posing behind the counter.
The Small Business Empowerment Program assists Black, Indigenous, people of color business owners and business owners with disabilities recognized by the ADA who have experienced barriers in the review process.  
On this page
We appreciate your interest in the Small Business Empowerment Program. Currently, the Bureau of Development Services is experiencing capacity issues. Some inquiries may require more time to address, resulting in longer response times. We look forward to talking with you soon.

Please fill out the intake form so we can contact you as soon as we are accepting new clients.

The program provides services that support small business owners in permitting their projects, so that they can continue running their businesses.  

How we will support you

  • Connects small business owners to community resources

  • Empowers small business owners with the information needed before signing a lease agreement

  • Researches codes and rules for customers 

  • Works with clients to find options for solving permitting and building questions

  • As needed, we will work with you from the beginning to the end of your project

How to Apply

We focus service to Black, Indigenous, People of Color and persons with disabilities.

Apply for Small Business Empowerment online 

  • Please fill out the form below to be considered for the program. Filling out this form does not mean you will be accepted into the program.  

  • We will look at your information and contact you within 2 business days. 

  • If you are accepted into the program, we will set up a meeting. 

Why Small Businesses 

Small businesses are the lifeline to fostering strong local economies, keeping money close to home and supporting neighborhoods and communities. Businesses owned by people of color and business owners with disabilities have historically had less access to credit, government resources and less ability to withstand the loss of income. Importantly, these businesses are not only providers of critical services in underserved communities; they also serve as primary sources of jobs and income in communities of color. 

It is vital that these communities receive extraordinary, rapid and flexible support to survive and recover from the pandemic. Failure to assist them will widen already unsustainable disparities. 

“Equity is not only a matter of social justice or morality: It is an economic necessity. By building the capabilities of those who are furthest behind, America not only begins to solve its most serious challenges, but also creates the conditions that allow ALL to flourish.” – Policy Link 

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