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Growing Black Businesses Through a Magic City Match in Birmingham

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revbirmingham.org

Magic City Match is an initiative led by REV Birmingham and powered by Prosper to match Black-owned businesses with Birmingham brick-and-mortar spaces where they can thrive.

After a successful pilot program in 2022, Magic City Match has been refined for a new season to meet business owners where they are, with custom program offerings for three different stages of business growth.

David Fleming, President and CEO, REV Birmingham spoke on the importance of setting Black-owned businesses up for success.

“Small businesses are essential to Birmingham’s vibrancy and economic growth, and Black entrepreneurs typically face greater barriers to success,” Fleming said. “We are excited to strengthen Black-owned small businesses in Birmingham through the second year of Magic City Match, and we look forward to celebrating new business openings as a result of this program.”

Qualifying businesses for all stages of the program must be majority-owned by entrepreneurs who identify as Black American Descendants of Slavery.

WHAT STAGE IS MY BUSINESS?

Stage 1: Ready

If you are a Black entrepreneur who…

Owns a for-profit business that is not yet located in a brick-and-mortar space;

Has been in business for at least one year;

Has generated verifiable business revenue within the last twelve months; and

Desires to open in a brick-and-mortar location within the Birmingham city limits in the next 6-24 months

… Apply for Magic City Match’s Ready Stage Entrepreneur Track! The Ready Stage Entrepreneur Track will award a total of $100,000 to up to 15 entrepreneurs (approximately $5,000 – $10,000 value per entrepreneur) to pay professional service providers, including accountants, marketing professionals, lawyers, and more. Ready Stage winners also receive free business coaching, real estate assistance, and financial education to ready them for brick-and-mortar success. Applications are open from September 15, 2023 to October 15, 2023.

APPLY HERE

If you would like to learn more about the application process for the Magic City Match Ready Stage – Entrepreneur track, we invite you to register for a free, virtual workshop:  Tuesday, September 26 | 12 p.m. -1 p.m.

WORKSHOP REGISTRATION

OR

If you are a Black property owner with:

A vacant or underutilized commercial property within the City of Birmingham that is up to date on taxes and water bills and does not have any unresolved summons/citations from the Birmingham Environmental Court

…Apply for Magic City Match’s Ready Stage Property Owner Track! The Ready Stage Property Owner Track will award a total of $50,000 to up to 5 property owners (approximately $10,000 value per property owner) for property assessments, surveys, title searches, and appraisals. Property owners will also receive market analysis, resources to help draft a lease and identify potential tenants, and connections to a financial partner to discuss lending options for renovation. Applications are open from Sept. 15, 2023 to Oct. 15, 2023.

APPLY HERE

If you would like to learn more about the application process for the Magic City Match Ready Stage – Property Owner track, we invite you to register for free, a virtual workshop: Thursday, Sept. 28 | 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

WORKSHOP REGISTRATION

Stage 2: Open

If you are a Black business owner with a brick-and-mortar space identified, but you need additional funding to open your business, apply for the Open Stage.

In order to qualify for the Open Stage, applicants must meet the following criteria:

Owner of a for-profit business that has not yet opened in a brick-and-mortar space

Brick-and-mortar space identified within the City of Birmingham, with a letter of intent or contract

Must be able to upload a project plan for business opening with a fully loaded project budget AND a business plan or pitch deck complete with financial projections

Business must be able to demonstrate capital readiness

The Open Stage will award a total of $250,000 in grants to up to 5 small businesses. Open Stage winners also receive connections to lending partners if needed and PR support for the business opening. Applications will open in February 2024.

Stage 3: Grow

If you are a Black business owner who has…

A business located in a brick-and-mortar space in the city of Birmingham that has been open for at least one year

The ability to share two years of business tax returns to demonstrate capital readiness

Plans to sustain and/or grow your business over the next 3 years; and

A need for small grant funding or assistance from professional service providers to achieve your goals

… Apply for Magic City Match’s Grow Stage! The Grow Stage will award a total of $50,000 to up to 10 businesses either for small grants (maximum 20% of the project cost, up to $5,000), or funding for professional service providers. Grow Stage winners also receive business coaching from REV Birmingham and financial education and connection to lending resources as needed. Applications are open from Sept. 15, 2023 to Oct. 15, 2023.

APPLY HERE

If you would like to learn more about the application process for the Magic City Match Grow Stage, we invite you to register for free, a virtual workshop: Wednesday, Sept. 27 | 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

WORKSHOP REGISTRATION

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

If you still have questions or want to learn more, sign up for our office hours or email magicitymatch@revbirmingham.org. For full program details check out the guidelines below.

OFFICE HOURS

COMPLETE GUIDELINES