ATLANTA - An organization called “Count Me In” will soon give 19 minority and women business owners thousands of dollars to reinvigorate their companies in the midst of COVID-19.
During a time like this, there are plenty of business owners in need.
The women behind the organization “Count Me In” say they’re handing out 19 grants worth $10,000 and $25,000 by the end of the month.
Free money always sounds too good to be true, but with 20 years of experience helping women in business, Nell Merlino’s goal is to revive, reinvent, and rally minority and women-owned businesses.
"They can keep going if they had some help," she told FOX 5's Alex Whittler.
Merlino is the brain behind “Count Me In” which is an organization that normally offers business loans to driven women.
This year, competition winners won’t have to pay that money back, thanks to a grant from a company called Smart and Sexy.
Merlino says many minority and women-owned businesses did not get the PPP loan needed to withstand COVID-19.
"Those who have won the (loan) competition have gone into have multimillion-dollar businesses around the country," Merlino said.
Right now, at least 600 people have requested an application from the “Count Me In” revival website, but only 10 have completed it.
To apply, applicants will have to provide a mission statement, provide a quick video about what they would do with the money, and how they’d pay it forward.
It doesn’t matter where your business is based, the only stipulation is a clear brand and a goal that will not only better your business but your community as well.
Veteran Vernice “Fly Girl” Armour has a consulting business in Atlanta. She’s worked with Merlino, supporting up and coming businesses for years.
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She says the Atlanta metro has a diverse pool of entrepreneurs who could stand to win a grant.
"You lose 100% of the shots you don’t take," Armour said. "So, apply."
Applicants have until July 8 to complete an application. You can find information about it here.