DENVER — The City of Denver is launching a new program aimed at helping family-owned businesses fight displacement and build wealth.
The Family Business Preservation Program was created by Denver Economic Development & Opportunity in partnership with the Center for Community Wealth Building.
“What we seek to do is really help the business owner and their family members build wealth through their business succession planning," said Carla Castedo, Denver Economic Development and Opportunity director of economic mobility. “We went to many BIPOC-owned businesses, and there were so many businesses that had the help of their children. So we wanted to make sure that folks, as they're getting involved in the business of their families, they can get assistance for the day-to-day.”
Program participants must have an annual revenue of less than $500,000 and must have family members who are interested in learning more about business operations.
Priority will be given to businesses located in neighborhoods where businesses are vulnerable to displacement such as: Elyria-Swansea, Globeville, Northeast Park Hill, East Colfax, Montbello, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, West Colfax, and Westwood.
“We want to be able to provide tools for anti-displacement and economic mobility within the family-owned businesses,” said Castedo. “We want to make sure that we're providing Denver businesses with the opportunity to come in, get resources that they need, get that assistance that many of them haven't received in the past, and be able to connect them later on whenever possible to funding opportunities through the City and County of Denver.”
The Blazing Chicken Shack located in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood is owned by married couple Rhonda Banks and Leola Gant and has been open for seven years.
“I think to credit for our survival is the neighborhood support, it has been really good through the past couple of years,” said Banks.
During the height of the pandemic, business was inconsistent.
“It was up, it was down. It was kind of hard. You know, we had some struggles. But the community came together,” said Gant.
After hearing about the Family Business Preservation Program, Gant and Banks said it’s a program that could help a lot of family-owned businesses like theirs.
“It's a blessing that the city is trying to reach out and help small businesses. The struggle was real, the struggle is real. I mean, everything is going up. People are holding on to their purse strings a little bit tighter. So we can all use a little bit of help,” said Banks. “The goal is to have something to pass down.”
The deadline to apply for the program is Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.