News & Politics

$50,000 in Grants Available to Struggling Entrepreneurs

A Rockville businessman has organized a relief fund help entrepreneurs facing COVID-19 hardships

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A local business owner has helped raise $50,000 in funds to help entrepreneurs who have lost income on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The grants, which will range from $50 to $500, are available to current and would-be entrepreneurs, and there is no restriction on how they can be spent. Grantees can use the funds for whatever their needs are—groceries, medication, children’s supplies, or other expenses.

Anik Singal, the 36-year-old founder of Lurn, Inc., a platform that sells online marketing services to entrepreneurs, has put $30,000 of his own funds toward the effort. The other $20,000 has come from Lurn’s employees, their family members, and the public, according to Joe Campanella, the executive vice president of sales and marketing at Lurn.

“Emails with positive thoughts and well wishes are great, but we want to take real action and put money directly into the pockets of the people who need it the most,” Singal said in a press release announcing the funds. “I’ve gotten to where I am today with the support of some great people, and now I’m here to support the community and give back.”

Anik Singal, the founder of Lurn. Photo courtesy of Lurn.

Campanella says the relief fund is geared towards the small-scale and home-based businesses that Lurn typically works with—as opposed to the high-flying tech entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley. These smaller entrepreneurs, who may still be trying to get off the ground, can benefit from the modest grants available through the fund, Campanella says.

“At least for the first fund,” Campanella says. ‘We wanted to try and touch as many people as possible and try and help them out.”

Campanella says the fund may issue larger grants in the future, depending on how things go with the first fund.

Singal and his colleagues are continuing to raise money for the effort; you can donate here.  

Entrepreneurs are not required to purchase Lurn services to qualify for the grants. They can apply for the grants here.

Singal founded Lurn, which is based in Rockville, Maryland, in 2004.

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.