Press Release

Cross River Provides Over $145,000 in Critical Funds to Black Businesses in Honor of National Black Business Month Through Grant Program with the Brooklyn Chamber

Cross River

September 7, 2023

4 min read

In its 2nd year,Small Business Grant Program opens new doors and empowers local minority-owned businesses

Company is known for its focus on financial inclusion, responsible financial products, community engagement and corporate social responsibility

FORT LEE, N.J - Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a technology infrastructure provider that offers embedded financial solutions, and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce celebrate National Black Business Month by distributing grants through the organizations’ Small Business Grant Program to local Black-owned businesses.

“It is truly an honor to partner with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and provide much needed resources to such deserving small businesses that are the lifeblood of this wonderful community,” said Joseph N. Garba, Head of External Affairs at Cross River. “Since our inception, Cross River has been committed to opening the doors to modern financial services and access to responsible credit in historically underserved and excluded communities. But more importantly, our work allows us to give back to these same communities in meaningful ways and we’re proud that our partnership with the Chamber allows us to demonstrate impactful philanthropy in the Borough of Brooklyn.”

The program, currently in its second year, has delivered over $145,000 in lifelines to 19 Black-owned businesses in Brooklyn in 2023. At a recent event to present a $5,000 grant from the program to Fafa's Kitchen in East Flatbush, representatives from Cross River and the Brooklyn Chamber were joined by NYS Senator Kevin Parker, Assemblywoman Monique Chandler-Waterman and Brooklyn Regional Representative to Governor Kathy Hochul's Office, Debbie Louis.

The Small Business Grant Program, a collaboration between Cross River and the Chamber, provides financial support to minority and women-owned businesses. The program has been instrumental in supporting the revitalization and recovery of local small businesses who have experienced post-pandemic challenges, as 92 percent of Black business owners faced financial hardships during the pandemic, the highest rate of any group. Additionally, Black business owners are more likely than their white counterparts to be denied capital even when identified as a “low credit risk.”

“Our partnership with Cross River to provide meaningful support to small businesses of color through grants, is one of the most impactful programs we administer at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce,” said Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Through COVID and beyond, we have helped advance equity and promote Black-owned businesses across every neighborhood in the Borough. We are grateful to Cross River and their team for this partnership.”

Recipients of the grants have used the funds to expand and purchase inventory, rebuild after a break-in, and ultimately, grow their small businesses.

Cassandre Davilmar, Owner of Lakou Café said, "The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce was a huge support to me in May 2023. I woke up the morning of May 19, to find that my business Lakou Cafe had been broken into for the first time in 5 years. Our register was stolen, and our glass door was shattered. Immediately, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce offered to help through their joint grant program with Cross River. With this grant, I was able to repair our shattered glass storefront and install an updated security system. It isn't easy owning and operating a business, but I'm really appreciative of the work that the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Cross River have done to create a safety net for Brooklyn's most vulnerable businesses."

“On July 8, 2023 I received a $5,000 Cross River Small Business Grant,” said Fabiola Besson, Owner of Fafa's Kitchen. “I was behind on my rent for the space that I use for my business and with the grant, I was able to pay my rent. Moreover, I was able to purchase inventory, which was a dire need for my business. This grant made a significant impact for my business. I will forever be grateful.”

“Thank you to the Brooklyn Chamber and Cross River for this grant,” said Karlene Robinson, Owner of Golden Seven Music Enterprise. “The grant will help me add a differentiator to my product line that no vendor is selling at the Caton Market, setting myself apart and giving my customers products they want.”

Images from the check presentations are available here: Cross River BCC Check Presentations. The Small Business Grant program is funded by Cross River and applications are processed through the Chamber’s economic development arm, Brooklyn Alliance Capital. To learn more, please visit Cross River Giving Back.