The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce has hosted five orientations for Flint small businesses interested in applying for a Moving Flint Forward Fund grant. The grant program was established to help small businesses affected financially by the Flint water crisis. Grants up to $10,000 are available to businesses that meet the criteria.

A total of 343 small business leaders attended the sessions on April 4-6 and April 11-12, which were held at Berston Field House and New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church, respectively.

The grant committee has received 68 applications for review.

The funds are part of the economic development program established by the FlintNOW Foundation, created by Platinum Equity founder and Detroit Pistons Owner Tom Gores, and Huntington Bank. That program donated $1 million to the Genesee Chamber Foundation’s Moving Flint Forward Fund, which will award the grants.

Prospective applicants must own and operate a business within the city of Flint, and be able to prove financial hardship as a result of the current economy and water crisis. Special consideration will be given to minority-owned businesses but franchise operations are not eligible for this program. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The next grant orientation session will be held May 11, from 4:30-6 p.m., at the Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley St.

Orientation sessions include a presentation about the grant program and guidelines, as well as information about the funders and their vision for the small business community. Participants receive an application package and detailed instruction on proper completion and submission of the application.