Mercado on Fifth awards $20,000+ to QC minority-owned businesses

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Mercado on Fifth and its team of community partners during a virtual ceremony, Thursday January 7,  awarded $21,200 in equipment grants to 23 minority-owned businesses in the Quad Cities. Awardees include restaurants, cleaning companies and retail businesses owned by Black, Latinx, Asian and women entrepreneurs.

Mercado, in partnership with IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union (IHMVCU), launched this cycle of the Minority Business Equipment Grant program in mid-November to provide relief to businesses as they continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19. Eligible minority-owned businesses in the Quad Cities were encouraged to apply for up to $1,000 for equipment-related purchases, such as repairs to existing infrastructure, technology upgrades and personal protective equipment (PPE). 

“It’s inspiring to see the funds will be used to launch new businesses, grow existing ones and keep some from closing,” Maria Ontiveros, President, Mercado on Fifth, said. “This is the largest amount of money we’ve awarded in a single cycle of this program, and it’s coming at a critical time for small businesses.”

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With the financial support of Mercado founder Bob Ontiveros, Mercado and the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Western Illinois University – Quad Cities (SBDC at WIU-QC) created the Minority Business Equipment Grant program in 2018 to empower aspiring entrepreneurs as well as long-standing businesses. During this latest round of grants, additional partners, IHMVCU and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (FHLBank Chicago), helped expand the impact. Over four grant cycles, the program has awarded more than $62,000 to minority-owned businesses for equipment-related purchases. 

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“This grant is not only for businesses, but it is about them and their willingness to persevere,” said Ann Friederichs, Business Advisor, Illinois SBDC at WIU-QC. “We are here to honor you and your hard work.”

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To be eligible for funding through this program, business owners must sign up for a free consultation with the Illinois SBDC at WIU-QC, which offers services in English and Spanish. Mercado President Maria Ontiveros said requiring this touchpoint ensures businesses are set up for success beyond the grant. Funds will be used to purchase and repair a variety of equipment, including an exhaust pump, commercial dishwasher and floor buffer. 

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Awardee Shay Moore is using the funds to purchase a new computer for her clothing design business, Moore Divahs. 

“I want to thank the banks and the SBDC for staying in tune with us, making sure businesses here in the Quad Cities can stay afloat to make our dream – and what we want to conquer – come true,” Moore said during the award ceremony. 

Awardees

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  • Argrow’s House
  • Beauty by Mayra
  • Cookie Crumbs Daycare
  • Coya’s Cafe
  • Curry-Out QC
  • El Patrón in the District 
  • El Pueblo Mexican Grill
  • FLFMSS, LLC (DBA Blo Blow Dry Bar)
  • Focus Fundamentals LLC
  • Fresh Start Cleaning
  • La Flor de Trigo Bakery 2
  • Manzanita Pros LLC
  • Martinez Grocery
  • Meli’s Pancake House
  • Mi Cielo, LLC d/b/a El Patron Express
  • Moore Divahs
  • Noodle House 88, Inc
  • Old Mexico Restaurant
  • Queen Bee Boutique
  • Senor Julio’s Mexican Flare Cuisine & Cantina
  • Sun-Star Cleaning
  • Taqueria Roly’s
  • Valet Trash Pickup
“It was of great help for some things that I needed in my business. For example the Microblading bed and pigment and Blades since that is very expensive.
I am grateful to Mercado for this great help and opportunity, God Bless them.”
Mayra Vazquez, Beauty by Mayra
1833 52nd Avenue
Moline, Illinois
Studio #17

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