BIPOC Fund

In partnership with the Aurora Chapter of the NAACP and the Colorado Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, VEC established this program to support BIPOC-owned small businesses and start-ups. Given the overwhelming economic downturn and high rate of COVID cases amongst the BIPOC community, this program is focused on providing support to BIPOC businesses as they pivot to meet the challenges in the current landscape, realize economic recovery and to provide pandemic relief across the Denver metro area.

“BIPOC” stands for “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color,” and is person-first language. It enables a shift away from terms like “marginalized” and “minority.”

The goal of the fund is to…

  1. provide relief to small businesses in the form of year-long technical assistance memberships; and
  2. to provide mini-grants to business owners for business-related investments.

VEC and NAACP are recruiting applicants, especially targeting the East Colfax and Northwest Aurora neighborhoods. Grantees are receiving $1,500 – $5,000 for expenses that assist entrepreneurs in learning new skills, such as branding, raising capital, finances/budgeting, business plans and continued education.

Eligibility

  • Small BIPOC startup/scaling businesses in the Denver Metro Area
  • up to but less than 5 years old

Ineligible

  • Any business/individual who has previously received this grant from a previous funding cycle is not eligible to apply again for a period of two years from the previous award.

The program was initially launched in summer 2020, funded by the Wend Collective. That first round of funding awarded 50 small business owners with $92,900 in mini-grants.

In 2021, we were able to extend this program due to a generous gift of $200,000 from the Wend Collective, plus $10,000 from Amazon.

The current round of funding:

new businesses applied

businesses awarded so far

total in mini grants

average award