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Jacksonville Targeted For Black Restaurant Accelerator Program

File photo of an empty restaurant
Lynne Sladky
Associated Press file photo

Jacksonville is one of 12 cities where a grant program is launching to boost Black-owned restaurants.

The National Urban League is implementing the $10 million Black Restaurant Accelerator program with funding from Pepsi Co.

The goal is to help about 500 Black-owned businesses nationwide over the next five years.

"This is a game-changing program that will provide Black restaurateurs with access to business-building resources tailored to meet their specific needs," said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, in a news release.

The grant program is meant to remove some of the hurdles Black entrepreneurs face, which the National Urban League said include limited access to loans and capital, biased community perceptions and gentrification challenges. 

The pandemic has compounded the barriers to growth. About 41% of Black-owned businesses have closed since February 2020, compared to 17% of white-owned businesses, according numbers from the University of California cited by the National Urban League.

Applications for the program will be accepted in the first quarter of 2021. Restaurateurs can sign up to receive updates on the program until then.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.