North and South Omaha Small Businesses Awarded Grant Funding to Help Impact of COVID-19

August, 3, 2020

Omaha, NE – Seven local small businesses were recently awarded grants by The Community CONNECT – Investing in Small Business 2020 initiative to help alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. The grants were made possible by a collaboration of Catholic Charities, Omaha Economic Development Corporation, Mutual of Omaha, and CIT Bank for the purpose of supporting entrepreneurs and economic growth in the North and South corridors of the Omaha community.

The 2019 Community CONNECT collaboration featured a start-up pitch competition held in the fall of 2019. When COVID-19 struck earlier this year, plans for the 2020 “shark tank” event were postponed, and a decision made to move to an online, grant competition format in order to continue support of small businesses when they most need it. Catholic Charities and the Omaha Economic Development Corporation have experienced firsthand the devastating impact of COVID–19 on their business clients and graduates as they have sought support and advice on how to keep their businesses afloat during these turbulent times.

“A diverse, vibrant, small business environment in North and South Omaha is essential to the overall health of the Omaha community,” said Annie Messersmith, VP Controller Division, Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company and Catholic Charities Board member. “The Catholic Charities Microbusiness and Asset Development Program and Omaha Economic Development Corporation small business innovation space are providing the much-needed support to help these entrepreneurs build, grow and sustain their businesses.”

Last month, The Community CONNECT issued a Request for Proposals soliciting proposals from graduates of Catholic Charities’ Microbusiness and Asset Development Program and Omaha Economic Development Corporation’s small business innovation space with the goal of providing one-time funding support to help alleviate the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on their business. A panel of judges comprised of community business leaders selected the following small businesses to receive a grant in the amount of $3,000 each:

    - Lion Construction LLC       - Ortiz Construction LLC   - Quick Bites Soul Food
    - Still Poppin Gourmet Popcorn   - Tachitos Daycare LLC     - Tipico Helado LLC    
    - White Rhino Productions

The grants were made possible by funding from CIT Bank, Mutual of Omaha, and the Nebraska Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“CIT is committed to empowering small business owners and entrepreneurs in our communities, and our support is needed now more than ever,” said Stephanie Couser, Community Development Leader at CIT. “Through our collaboration with The Community Connect, we’re able to help Omaha small business owners and entrepreneurs focus on navigating through the pandemic by providing much-needed financial support in this unprecedented time.”

To learn more about The Community CONNECT, please contact Kathleen Berg at 402.829.9233 or Annette Artherton at 402.871.8365.


About Catholic Charities: Catholic Charities ministers to the greatest and most fundamental needs of our community, serving over 80,000 people in need every year regardless of race, religion, creed, or socioeconomic status. Since 1926, Catholic Charities has had a rich tradition of serving and advocating for the voiceless, hungry, addicted, abused, and forgotten individuals and families throughout the Omaha Archdiocese’s 23 counties. Through our Microbusiness and Asset Development Program, Catholic Charities helps hundreds of budding entrepreneurs build, launch, and grow their dream businesses. This program offers formal training, technical assistance, micro loans, financial education, and counseling – key ingredients that help low-income individuals achieve self-sufficiency and financial freedom. THAT’S THE POWER OF COMMUNITY! 

For more information on Catholic Charities, visit

About Omaha Economic Development Corporation: Founded in 1977, the Omaha Economic Development Corporation began as a vision in the hearts of community residents and activists to address blight and poverty in the City of Omaha. Our focus addresses the immediate physical evidence of community deterioration and the socio-economic challenges of poverty. Our specific economic strategies and community revitalization projects provide diversified, environmentally responsible housing options; affordable commercial/retail spaces; jobs; job skill and small business development training; and business ownership opportunities. Our success stems from the commitment of the community we serve and strong local and national partnerships that fortify our mission to provide opportunities to live with dignity and fulfillment; build assets and a healthy economy through full time employment; and jointly support those unique cultural activities that reflect our residents. For more details about our work, visit our website at

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Phone: 402.680.1038