SBA Awards $600,000 Across 3 PRIME Grants in Metro New York to Assist Emerging Micro-Entrepreneurs Gain Access to Capital

Funding part of 27 National Awards that Assist Organizations in Providing Technical Assistance and Training Services to Economically Disadvantaged Businesses in HUB and Opportunity Zones

WASHINGTON – September 29, 2021: The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded $600,000 across three Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME) grants to Metro New York based non-profit organizations that help low-income entrepreneurs get financing to establish and expand their small businesses by providing direct technical assistance, or capacity-building training for other organizations that provide capital to underserve small businesses. These grants are part of the SBA’s nationwide total 27 PRIME awards to groups totaling $5.2 million.

“The Biden-Harris Administration and Congress have worked together tirelessly to ensure our nation’s small businesses have the resources they need to survive this pandemic and build back better,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “This year, SBA focused our PRIME grant selection process on our nonprofit partners who can best bring federal resources to life, especially in the regions and communities where they are needed most. I look forward to partnering with these organizations as they help us connect America’s entrepreneurs with the capital they need to start and grow their enterprises.”

Congress established PRIME as part of the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds will be made available on September 30, 2021, and the project period for each grant is one year.

“SBA PRIME grants empower nonprofit microlenders and other 501c3 groups provide access to capital and technical assistance to aspiring microentrepreneurs. It’s exciting to see these awards go to three deserving New York City organizations that can now enhance their work assisting Metro New York entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed,” said SBA New York District Director Beth L. Goldberg, who leads the nation’s largest SBA field office.

This year’s Metro New York recipients include:

Ascendus, Inc. – $200,000 PRIME Grant

Ascendus will deliver the critical financial education resources that 720 disadvantaged small business owners to better position these entrepreneurs for their individualized COVID-19 recovery. The organization has a mission to empower low- to moderate-income business owners through access to capital and financial education. With economic opportunity, clients — predominately minorities and women — go on to build assets, support their families, create jobs and revitalize their local neighborhoods. Ascendus is also a nonprofit microlender, certified CDFI and a sanctioned lender in the SBA’s microloan and 7a Community Advantage programs.


Business Outreach Center Network, Inc. (BOCN) – $200,000 PRIME Grant

With its SBA PRIME award of $200,000, BOCN will continue working to improve the economic prospects of traditionally underserved groups, with a focus on low- and very low-income microentrepreneurs and HUB Zones. BOCN provides customized, bilingual small business development and post-COVID assistance services including: (1) an assessment of business, credit, financial management, and marketing skills; (2) specialized workshops, training and one-on-one counseling and strategic technical assistance to address skills gaps and build capacity; and, (3) flexible financing through BOC Capital Corp. and mainstream or alternative financing sources.
The Business Outreach Center Network, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit microenterprise and small business development organization. The organization joins BOC Capital Corp. CDFI, a 501(c)3 SBA Microloan Intermediary and Community Advantage Lender, to deliver the Microenterprise Collaborative Project.


Start Small Think Big, Inc.$200,000 PRIME Grant

Start Small Think Big’s mission is to help disadvantaged small businesses create thriving businesses in underserved areas so owners can build wealth for themselves, their families, and communities. Start Small Think Big engages a top-tier network of professional volunteers with expertise to effectively expand the skills, networks, and markets of these small businesses so they can recover from COVID and realize the promise business ownership holds for addressing the racial and gender wealth gap. With its PRIME award of $200,000, Start Small Think Big will provide 4,500 small businesses with a COVID Response & Recovery Programming including improving access to recovery funds; One to One Legal, Financial and Marketing and Sales Technical Assistance Services; and/or Small Business Webinars to provide entrepreneurs with fundamental business knowledge to start and grow sustainable small businesses.


The SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those that service entrepreneurs in Opportunity Zones, rural areas, and HUBZones. PRIME Award recipients pledged to use the grant funding to continue their work on behalf of the underserved micro-entrepreneurs.


“Ascendus is proud to be awarded the SBA PRIME Award. At Ascendus, we believe in the power of up. With this funding, we will be able to further contribute to the financial ascension of those that need it most, those that have been historically under served and underfunded. This fund will help to provide life changing support primarily to BIPOC, women, and immigrant small business owners,” said Ascendus, Inc. CEO Paul Quintero.


“SBA PRIME is a very important support for BOC Network’s work in communities throughout New York City. We are very proud to be an awardee and work in partnership with the SBA to provide hands-on assistance for microentrepreneurs whose businesses provide goods and services and create jobs in local communities. We look forward to supporting the sustainability and growth of their enterprises in the coming years,” added Business Outreach Center Network, Inc. Executive Director Nancy Carin.


Among this year’s 27 national recipients, 15 provide services in Opportunity Zones and 12 provide services in HUBZones. Nearly 9,000 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories have been designated as Opportunity Zones.

The PRIME grants range from $75,000 to $250,000, and typically require at least 50 percent in matching funds or in-kind contributions. In total, over 101 organizations applied for PRIME grants for 2021.    For more information on the SBA’s PRIME grants and a list of this year’s grantees, visit this SBA webpage.



About Ascendus

Ascendus believes in the bold vision of creating financial ascension for those who have been systemically excluded from financial opportunity. For over 30 years, we’ve provided small business owners – primarily BIPOC, women and immigrants – with the tools to move up, improve their lives, care for their families, and contribute to their communities. We’ve placed over $200 million into the hands of 24,000 small businesses through our programs in New York, Massachusetts, Florida and nationally. Our history includes a long track record as an economic first responder in times of disaster, dating back to the September 11th attacks in downtown Manhattan, and continuing through Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Hurricane Irma in 2017, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. More at


About Opportunity Zones
Opportunity Zones provide a tax break in which investors can use capital gains to support long-term economic development in nearly 9,000 designated low-income communities across the country. An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Localities qualify as Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by the state and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury via his delegation of authority to the Internal Revenue Service.


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

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