Magic City Match Grant Program Boosts Bottom Lines for Black-Owned Businesses

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – The recipients of the inaugural Magic City Match program have been announced. The pilot program was designed specifically to help Black-owned businesses. More than two dozen companies have won thousands of dollars, but the grand prize winner is the owner of Oasis Family Birthing CenterDr. Heather Skanes.

“I feel extremely blessed and feel like this is basically divine confirmation. Like yes, go ahead and do this and bring this to the women of Alabama,” Dr. Skanes said.

She will now expand her business to provide outpatient delivery services. This expansion is exactly why Prosper Birmingham, REV Birmingham, IGNITE! Alabamaand Urban Impact Inc. all worked together to create the Magic City Match program.

“We are confident that these companies are now equipped and ready to take it to the next level,” said IGNITE! Alabama Executive Director Torin Darling Brazzle.

One of these companies is Successful wellness salon. Business owner Tish Fletcher has received $25,000 for her business and she plans to move into a brick-and-mortar establishment later this summer.

“There is a weight that has been lifted. I can now open much earlier. I can now prepay my lease. So that that stress is taken away from me and I can really focus on creating products for my customers and stocking the shelves with amazing products,” Fletcher said.

Not all companies are in the healthcare business, but all owners are passionate about it. This includes Birmingham native and car enthusiast Cameron Crummie. He owns Accessories for trucks and SUVs MDV and he believes the training he received as a fellow will be just as essential as the money he earned for his business.

“You don’t know what you’re doing and it’s a scary road to travel, but during the eight weeks of this business academy, every week is something different about your business to learn. What going to make it better? What’s going to make it stronger,” Crummie said.

The tough questions are the ones the organizers felt business owners needed to answer. Even start businesses.

“It really helped us grow the backend of our business. I feel like we’re so much more advanced now that we’ve taken the course,” said Jihaaya Muhammad, co-owner of Urban Soul Cafe,

Muhammad and Alexis Kimbrough think the $25,000 will be essential to keep their start-up costs down. They also think programs like the Magic City Match are huge for helping black-owned businesses shine.

“I’m so happy for these organizations and businesses and businesses that benefit from this, but we’re just excited for what’s to come,” said Successful initiatives Director Dee Manyama.

These companies will always have advisors who will help them spend their grant allocations, this way these companies will have a better chance of increasing their bottom line, for themselves and for Birmingham.

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