The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is proud to announce today that it has received a $5 million award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Community Navigator Pilot Program. Part of a $100 million federal American Rescue Plan initiative to support small business economic recovery, this effort will help small business owners build back resilient, thriving companies.  

In the two-year Community Navigator Pilot Program initiative, the IRC will work with over 21 community-based partners across Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, and Utah to support up to 3,000 diverse small business owners. With a specific focus on refugee and immigrant business owners, the IRC will help these businesses recover from the impacts of COVID by providing counseling, technical assistance, and support accessing up to $30 million in small business relief.

Erica Bouris, Director of Economic Empowerment at the IRC, said:

“America’s small business owners – especially those owned by immigrants, refugees, and other diverse populations – have long been critical to the economic health of communities and the United States.  We welcome the opportunity that this grant provides to expand the services we can offer them during this time of crucial recovery and ensure that they can continue to drive economic growth and opportunity in communities across America in the years ahead.   

“We are proud that through this project, we will be able to work with the community and economic development partners to ensure that all small business owners have the opportunity to receive the locally-based support, culturally and linguistically accessible support they need to survive, recover and thrive.”

“IRC is excited to serve as a national top tier partner in the SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program and looks forward to ensuring that through this effort, these small business owners can continue to drive economic growth and opportunity in communities across the U.S. in the years ahead.”

IRC’s continuum of economic empowerment programs include workforce development, financial capability and inclusion, and small business development support programs and reach more than 15,000 diverse Americans each year. With these programmatic interventions, the IRC helps people and communities on a path towards economic opportunity, supporting financial resilience and intergenerational wealthbuilding for the decades to come.