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City of Raleigh Program Provides More Than $3 Million to Small Businesses

City of Raleigh and Carolina Small Business Development Fund launch second round of Oak City Biz Labs

RALEIGH— The City of Raleigh and Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) are launching the second round of Oak City Biz Labs, a program that provides funding and technical assistance to Raleigh small businesses. The program application will launch at 10 a.m. on Monday, February 27, and will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 12.

The first round of applications and funding for Oak City Biz Labs took place from July through September 2022, and granted more than $1.1 million to 51 small businesses in Raleigh.

Some eligibility requirements have changed for this second round of Oak City Biz Labs. Businesses established before January 1, 2020, are eligible for this program. In addition, businesses that received funding through the Raleigh Relief Fund, which was administered by CSBDF through CARES Act funds, are now eligible for Oak City Biz Labs. Businesses that are franchises, home-based, online, and/or located in co-working spaces are no longer eligible for this program.

Eligible small businesses can receive up to $30,000 in funds for collateral enhancements, debt repayments, equipment or vehicle leasing, specialized training or certification expenses, technology and equipment purchases, and more. In order to receive grant funding, applying businesses must complete technical assistance training; to help small businesses achieve their long-term goals, technical assistance is available in areas such as capital access, supply chain connectivity, business operations, and marketing. The free technical assistance training for Oak City Biz Labs is supported by CSBDF’s Digital Learning Academy, and courses are available in both English and Spanish.

“I’m excited for the continuation of the City of Raleigh’s partnership with CSBDF on the Oak City Biz Labs program. We were able to provide much needed assistance to a broad and diverse set of local businesses during the program’s initial funding round and we know that there are many businesses in our community that continue to struggle recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said City of Raleigh Assistant City Manager Evan Raleigh.

Carolina Small Business Development Fund is a nonprofit and U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides financing, technical assistance, and policy research to support small businesses. “Many of our small businesses are still grappling with the impact of COVID-19, and as our economic landscape is changing, it’s increasingly important to equip businesses with not just tools needed for recovery, but the tools needed for resilience,” said CSBDF CEO Kevin Dick. Oak City Biz Labs is one of many business assistance services offered by CSBDF and represents the nonprofit’s third active business development program run in partnership with a municipality.

“I am thankful that we will have yet another opportunity to provide immediate assistance to members of our small business community and to equip them with the tools they need for long-term success,” said Raleigh.

Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis until selected applications exhaust the fund pool. A virtual info session will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, February 20 via Zoom. Businesses interested in applying for Oak City Biz Labs are encouraged to visit the program’s website to learn more about the updated eligibility and documentation requirements and to register for the virtual info session.


Emily Blevins Marketing & Communications Director Carolina Small Business Development Fund

Julia Milstead Public Information Officer City of Raleigh


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