New grants to help keep small business alive

Think “Shark Tank.” The TV show deciding on business deals gave Jim Batmasian the idea to offer grant opportunities to small business in Boca Raton and surrounding areas.

So, for the first time, the Batmasian family has launched a micro-grant program. It invites businesses and entrepreneurs to apply, share their vision and how they impact the community, Marta Batmasian said.

Applications at are due by April 15.

Small businesses applying for the grant are defined as having 50 or fewer full- and part- time employees with 75% or more locally based and having registered in the Palm Beach and Broward counties region.

Fifteen grants will be issued. They range from $20,000 for first place, $10,000 for second and third places and $5,000 for each of the remaining finalists.

Who decides? A panel of local business leaders, Chambers of Commerce and city officials will review the applicants to select the finalists. “We are not going to be on the panel to keep impartiality and objectivity in the selection process,” she said.

The family owns Investments Limited, the largest, privately held and family owned real estate company in the region. Among their holdings are Royal Palm Place, Fifth Avenue Shoppes and the Shops at University Park, formerly Plum Plaza.

What made them decide to do this? “To preserve local business. It has to be a small local business, so it’s truly location. It has to be preferably owner operated and serving local needs,” Marta Batmasian said. “Applicant creativity, tenacity and hard work will likely be the deciding factor.”

If the business managed to stay open through the pandemic, so much the better. “The preference is, they endured despite the difficult times,” she said.

This may be their first grants offering, but the Batmasians have contributed millions over the decades to aspiring entrepreneurs and businesses, non-profits, education and the community after having built their own company from a $5,000 personal investment to a $2 billion business, the company said in a statement.

Jim Batmasian started two nonprofits, PROPEL education help for teens and Changing Lives to help homeless people get back on their feet.



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