EDGE Launches NEED Grant for Small Inner City Businesses Affected by COVID-19

Announced this week, From the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County:

The coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected small businesses everywhere and especially in Memphis’ most vulnerable neighborhoods. The EDGE Neighborhood Emergency Economic Development (NEED) Grant was created to provide relief to neighborhood-serving businesses in our city’s most distressed areas. 

Grants of up to $10,000 will be made to businesses located in New Markets Tax Credit Eligible Census Tracks throughout the City of Memphis that have experienced at least a 25% loss in revenue as a result of COVID-19. 

  • Businesses that remain open with a 25% or more reduction in revenue and have a plan for 90 days of continuous future operation may qualify for between $5,000 and $10,000.
  • Businesses that are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 but have a plan for reopening within 90 days may qualify for $5,000.

To provide even more comprehensive assistance to eligible businesses, EDGE is partnering with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Southwest Tennessee Community College which will provide assistance in completing the NEED Grant application and work with the business to identify resources and business survival and recovery strategies.

Eligible businesses can apply starting today at NeedGrant.org.

“COVID-19 is having a devastaing impact on these small, neighborhood-serving businesses, all of which are a vital part of the communities they serve,” said EDGE President and CEO Reid Dulberger. “Over the past several years, EDGE has created new programs to grow inner-city businesses. The NEED Grant is our commitment to these neighborhoods, as we work collectively to insure that their retail and commercial cores aren’t hollowed out by COVID-19.”

Map of Eligible Census Tracts

For a high-resolution image of the above map, download it here:


Eligible Uses

Funds may be used for essential working capital such as rent or mortgage payments, payroll, supplier and vendor payments, insurance and utilities.

Who is Eligible?

  • Locally-owned businesses in operation with proper licenses and permits prior to March 1, 2019 and in continuous operation through March 1, 2020
  • Must demonstrate a 25% or greater loss of revenue due to COVID-19
  • Located in a New Markets Tax Credit Qualified Census Tract within the City of Memphis 
  • Annual revenue less than $1,000,000
  • Must be current on all City of Memphis and Shelby County Property Taxes or have an approved payment plan in place
  • Preference will be given to projects that directly benefit their neighborhood
  • EDGE will waive the requirement that businesses be operational for at least one year for ICED Loan recipients.
Visit NEEDGrant.org for more information about the program.

About EDGE

Created in 2011 to strengthen and streamline City and County economic development efforts, EDGE provides and coordinates public resources to drive economic development in Memphis and Shelby County. EDGE focuses on developing and fostering public/private partnerships to create jobs, grow the local economy, revitalize neighborhoods, attract investment, and encourage entrepreneurship.  EDGE offers a variety of programs to generate jobs, revenue and community investment. To date, EDGE has assisted in the creation and retention of nearly 38,000 jobs, received $5.9 Billion in capital investment and generated more than $1.4 Billion in tax revenue for Memphis and Shelby County. To learn more, visit growth-engine.org.

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