Reflecting & Rejoicing Celebrating 60 Years of Impact »

Oakland, CA – The Unity Council received a $850,000 grant from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund to support Fruitvale and East Oakland businesses manage the economic effects of COVID-19 by providing needed capital, technical assistance, and long-term recovery and resiliency support.

The Unity Council’s Small Business Services program is designed to help families create generational wealth, to close the racial economic and wellness gap that exists for minority-owned businesses and families, and to provide opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for BIPOC small businesses to survive,” said Chris Iglesias, CEO of The Unity Council. “For over 57 years, The Unity Council has supported entrepreneurs of color in Oakland to thrive. As the pandemic continues to hit East Oakland the hardest, the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund will be instrumental in helping small businesses stabilize and bounce back stronger than ever.”

The Unity Council’s Small Business Services program serves as the hub for a range of COVID-19 response and recovery services, including:

•           providing a range of virtual and person, one-on-one accessible technical assistance        services for 350+ minority-owned businesses in Fruitvale and East Oakland
•           implementing emergency response programs to increase health, safety, and commerce
•           helping small businesses that are struggling to bridge the growing the Digital Divide

“We are helping small businesses get back to growing again. Having access to trusted experts can be a critical turning point for small business owners facing financial hardships and other business challenges,” said Christina Pels-Martinez, region bank president, Wells Fargo. “Through the Open for Business Fund, we’re enlisting the expertise of The Unity Council and other CDFIs to offer a mix of resources and support systems that can help BIPOC small business owners navigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 at this critical time.”   

Thanks to Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund, a roughly $420 million small business recovery effort, The Unity Council will offer technical resources at no cost to help BIPOC entrepreneurs stabilize and start to slowly recover from the pandemic.