August 6 2020

CEG Awards $200,000 from COVID-19 Emergency Fund to 41 Capital Region MWBEs and VBEs


ALBANY, NEW YORK – To help small businesses weather the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Center for Economic Growth has awarded 41 of them a total $200,000 under a stabilization fund provided by the KeyBank Business Boost & Build Program (KBBB) powered by JumpStart, as well as additional funds from Tri-City Rentals.

COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

Since May, CEG has awarded up to $5,000 grants to 39 minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) and two veteran-owned businesses (VBEs). Among the MWBEs, 21 were minority-owned businesses and 18 were women-owned businesses. CEG is the administrator of the Capital Region Urban Core MWBE Emergency Relief Fund, with priority to support MWBEs in the Capital Region’s urban cities of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Troy, in the health and wellness, service, hospitality, lifestyle, and very small manufacturing industries. While the fund was initially launched with $150,000, Tri-City Rentals’ donation allowed CEG to award grants to more MWBEs as well as VBEs. Kenneth E. Williams, executive director of the New York State Office of General Services’ Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development, assisted in facilitating the VBE grant process.

“These awardees were primarily small businesses that could not get or were not eligible for emergency relief funding through the Small Business Administration. By getting these funds to them, we’ve not only delivered a vital boost to the region’s small businesses but also to our urban centers. We are grateful for KeyBank for its leadership in creating the Capital Region Urban Core MWBE Emergency Relief Fund, as well to Tri-City Rentals, which enabled us to extend its reach,” said CEG’s Senior Vice President Michael Lobsinger.


One of the grant recipients was Tatem Enterprise, an MWBE in Schenectady that operates as You Inc – Wealth Education Services, a personal finance education and financial literacy firm. It used the grant funding to purchase equipment, such as monitors, green screen, and a computer, that allows the firm to hold virtual classes.

“The grant has enabled us to reach more communities right here in the capital district. Our classes now have an additional component of self-paced learning after the live classes. We established an online platform where students have access to all of our materials, videos, documents, worksheets, and budget templates and can interact with us and their classmates to discuss the material and ask and answer questions. This helps build a private interactive online community where students support one another in attaining their financial goals,” said You Inc. Co-founder Angela Tatem.

Another grant recipient was Ready’s Transportation Enterprise, a door-to-door transportation service based in Troy. The grant has helped Ready’s purchase cleaning products, masks and sanitizers. It also allowed the company to purchase two stretchers to add to its services and prepare for new clientele.

“A little help during a time like this has allowed Ready’s Transportation Enterprise, LLC to uphold sanitary standards and upgrade services. Thank you for allowing our company to receive a grant that has benefited our company for growth as we face challenges through this pandemic. We look forward to more opportunities,” said Ready’s Owner Hendy Bynoe.

The Capital Region Urban Core Grant funding also gave Coiled Salon in Schenectady an opportunity to continue its expansion of offering more tangible goods, purchase the necessary protective personnel equipment to reopen and hire an attorney to finalize its business formation. 

“My salon, Coiled Salon, is a space dedicated exclusively and inclusively to textured hair. I was able to quickly pivot during the mandated shut down by offering alternate services via digital consultations as well as retail products,” said Lavida Barkley, Coiled Salon’s owner and operator.

Additionally, the award helped DNA BodyWorx in Albany pay business rent, revamp promotion of the business by working with a local MWBE web designer and keep the business insurance up to date.

“Being awarded an Urban Core MWBE Small Business ER Relief Grant was a blessing. As a small business owner, in a profession that relies on face-to-face interactions, COVID-19 cut my interactions with current and any possible new clients by 90 percent.  Without income, I was unable to pay business rent, promote the business and keep up with the normal expenses that accrue,” said DNA BodyWorx Ower Analusette Shaello.

Atina Foods in Catskill was another grant recipient that makes fermented and preserved Ayurvedic condiments in Catskill. The funding enabled Atina to not only stay in business but also helped it grow. Funding supported the hiring of production help for seasonal products. The grant also went toward the purchase of materials to finish the buildout of a new shop, creating a much needed central location for customers to buy Atina products at the height of their seasonal availability.

“We are grateful to KeyBank for this grant as it has strengthened our ability to manage local and global fluctuations, and continue to build community, and our body’s immunity,” said Atina Director of Operations and Co-Founder Carrie Dashow.


The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is the Capital Region’s regional economic development organization, with over 265 investors in business, government, education, and the not-for-profit sectors. CEG is a New York Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation-designated Regional Technology Development Center and an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). For more information, visit



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