The Merchants Fund Annually Funds $500,000 to Support Small Businesses - Generocity Philly

Funding

Feb. 17, 2015 12:14 pm

The Merchants Fund Annually Funds $500,000 to Support Small Businesses

Two of its grants, business stabilization and loan matching, have a February 27 deadline

Local businesses like Wash Cycle Laundry, Greenstreet Coffee Roasters and Ants Pants Cafe have received support from The Merchants Fund, a grantmaking organization that provides grants and loans to Philadelphia-based businesses.

The Merchants Fund, according to Patricia Blakely, who manages the fund, “offers small grants for small businesses in the City of Philadelphia to help you make money, save money, or change the way you do business.”

Founded in 1854 by wealthy Philadelphians who aimed to help sustain businesses facing financial hardship, The Fund distributes approximately $500,000 annually and offers a few different types of support, including business stabilization grants, loan matching grants, and special grants.

The business stabilization grant, up to $10,000, is sought by many entrepreneurs for equipment upgrades, signage, or energy-efficiency strategies. Bella Forte and Electrical Wizardry have been recipients.

For businesses with the ability obtain bank loans, loan matching grants are “meant for really big scale projects,” said Blakey, and match commercial loans dollar for dollar up to $20,000. Plenty Cafe, an expanding chain of coffee and gourmet sandwich spots, soon to have three Philadelphia locations, is a recent grantee.

To boost the efforts of groups of merchants on a corridor or business district, special grants have previously supported the Juneteenth Festival in Germantown and spurred facade improvements along South 9th Street in the Italian Market. Applications are accepted at any time, and interested businesses are encouraged to contact Blakely for guidance.

The deadline for both the business stabilization and loan matching grant is Friday, February 27. A second grant cycle will open sometime over the summer.

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Because The Merchants Fund supports a diverse range of businesses, Blakely said, “our portfolio looks like our city, with mom-and-pop shops and high-growth, job-creation type companies.”

Image via Flickr user Doug Kerr

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