Bay Area lender debuts grant program for smallest of small businesses

Protests over racial injustice in recent weeks spurred Oakland lender TMC Financing to create a $750,000 grant program supporting so-called microbusinesses that are often women and minority owned.

TMC Financing funded more than 1,100 SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling $105 million for small businesses. Those loans become grants when the money is used for payroll and other eligible expenses. But the lender saw an opportunity to assist some of the smallest of small businesses, many of which weren’t eligible or didn’t participate in the SBA’s relief program.

“The stories of the struggles facing our very small businesses are heartbreaking, and I wanted to do more, especially for women and minority-owned businesses that weren’t able to access the federal funding,” TMC Financing’s founder and CEO Barbara Morrison told me.

“I held a town hall meeting with my staff to discuss how to take action to help heal some of the hurt in our community,” Morrison said, adding that the company’s Oakland headquarters on Broadway provided a front-row seat to the Black Lives Matter protests in that city.