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  • Writer's pictureIFEL

IFEL Joins Effort to Bring New Capital to Diverse-Led Companies in Essex County, NJ

Updated: Aug 13, 2021

August 6, 2021 - The COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively affect the small business community and has disproportionately impacted businesses in communities of color. According to a study by McKinsey, more than 50% of the Black business owners of surviving businesses surveyed in May reported being very or extremely concerned about the viability of their businesses. Founders First CDC (Founders First) is launching the Founders First Job Creators Quest Grant for diverse-led businesses in New Jersey that have demonstrated ability to maintain and grow their workforce as well as an ongoing commitment to creating premium wage jobs. The grant will award $60,000 to 20 companies. Diverse founders may be Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, Military Veteran, Female, or located in a low to moderate-income area. The deadline to apply is August 20, 2021. IFEL CEO & Founder Jill Johnson states, “We are very excited to support this Founders First program to help diverse businesses not only survive, but to thrive and prosper. We know that businesses in communities of color were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and were essentially shut-out of relief funding. It is important, now more than ever, that we provide these businesses that have been historically excluded from the financial markets access to the resources they require to succeed.” Shaylon Scott, Executive Director of Founders First, noted, “This grant program is a way to create success beyond the classroom. We have observed many founders working more in their businesses than on their businesses. Our priority is to provide resources to entrepreneurs which will help them grow while simultaneously becoming premium wage job creators within their communities. Investing in diverse entrepreneurs is an impactful way to drive job and wealth creation in underserved communities. The Job Creators Quest Grant is more than a dollar amount; It’s a celebration of their success.”

For more information, specific criteria and to apply, visit Any questions should be directed to


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