New grant funding boosts capacity for small businesses and food access

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Programs to help small businesses and improve equitable food access will receive a boost in Indianapolis. The new grant funding will be facilitated by nonprofit development group LISC Indianapolis.

The money from the city is part of federal relief funding and focuses on areas impacted by the pandemic. The $3.2 million is split between two efforts.

A new Small Business Technical Assistance, or TA, Hub will support local businesses and nonprofits. LISC Indiana Executive Director David Hampton said companies often need added technical help.

“To take it to the next level, as always, you know it always presents a challenge how to expand, how to find capital and so we provide that technical assistance,” Hampton said.

There will be two TA hub locations, one at the Indy Black Chamber and one at a small business center at Butler University.  Businesses may be able to get help with bookkeeping, marketing, legal, credit and tax assistance. 

Hampton said helping businesses helps communities.

“When we see business growth, we see neighborhood growth, we see community growth, and it sends ripple effects,” he said.

Another $1.5 million supports the growth of LISC’s Equitable Food Access Initiative and Food Justice Collaborative.

Dozens of individuals and organizations are involved in the collaborative, which seeks to remove barriers to healthy food access. Hampton said food deserts have been an ongoing issue in Indianapolis.

“We have to figure out a way to close the gap between some of the low-income areas and hunger and then how grocery stores can also thrive in those lower income areas,” Hampton said.

The funds will go towards efforts to map the current food environment and hire community food workers to build better systems to combat food insecurity through partnerships and neighborhood engagement.

Subgrants will be awarded to organizations working on both efforts.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at

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