Business network concept. Customer support. Shaking hands. concept: Community Navigator Program
Guillermo Jimenez
By: gjimenez
Read in 8 minutes

Guide To The SBA’s Community Navigator Program

Last year, the pandemic affected businesses all over the country. In an effort to help businesses and the economy recover, the federal government launched several economic relief programs. The problem was that these programs didn’t reach the smallest businesses.

Fortunately, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has just launched a new program that has the potential to help thousands of socially and economically disadvantaged businesses. It will leverage $100 million to reach and help the nation’s smallest businesses.

This investment in America’s lifeline—small businesses—seeks to finance organizations that have the potential to strengthen small businesses.

The SBA Community Navigator Programs now accept applications. If you want to apply for the navigator program to help strengthen the businesses in your community, keep reading to learn more.

Teamwork of multi-ethnic and multicultural people working together. Concept of community of different people. Unity and solidarity between people of different cultures. Concept of activist and protest movement. Friendship, solidarity, tolerance and brotherhood among peoples. International and multicultural society and population. Cooperation between communities. Anti-racism protest. Volunteer. concept: Community Navigator Program

Thanks to the Biden Harris Administration and the America Rescue Plan, the Small Business Administration (SBA) was able to develop a new SBA program called “Community Navigator Pilot Program.” This program helps ensure that underserved businesses and the nation’s smallest businesses are able to access federal relief programs to weather the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

This SBA grant program is a great funding opportunity, it will distribute $100 million total in grants for organizations that can leverage their position to help small businesses that were affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It uses the community navigator model. The goal of the program is to strengthen socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, as well as women and veterans.

Applicants that are awarded the grant, can receive from $1 million to $5 million.

The SBA program will run for a two year performance period, starting on September 1, 2021, and lasting until August 31, 2023.

Community Navigator Program

A community navigator refers to an organization that has specialized knowledge and can help small business owners connect to a web of support, resources, and information in the business ecosystem. In a way, they become a hub for economic recovery in the entrepreneurial community.

These connections and resources allow small business owners to grow, strengthen their business and thrive.

Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership says “Community Navigators are the backbone of aiding underserved and underrepresented communities across the nation with recovery.”

The community navigator model in this pilot program will help businesses owned by:

  • individuals with disabilities 
  • individuals in:
    • Minority communities (like veterans and women)
    • Immigrant communities
    • Rural communities
    • Other underserved communities across the country

How Can My Business Benefit From The Community Navigator Pilot Program Stimulus?

While small businesses will not directly receive any economic stimulus from this SBA program (it’s organizations and governments that will receive the grant), they will definitely be benefited.

This program seeks to create strong business ecosystems that will offer help and resources for the smallest businesses, like mom and pop shops, and economically disadvantaged individuals. These ecosystems will allow them to thrive and recover from the pandemic.

The Biden Harris Administration is making sure small businesses can access the help they need.

Are you looking for capital to strengthen your small business? While the Community Navigator Program might not be what you needed, Small Business Loans could be the thing that can help your business.

Young Hispanic couple smiling to camera outside their shop. concept: Community Navigator Program

 Learn more about other SBA programs

Small Business Administration Community Navigator Program Plan Application

If you want to apply for this government grant program, part of the American Rescue Plan, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements and follow the steps to apply.

This SBA program is now accepting applications. You have until July 12, 2021, to apply and submit your application.

SBA Grant Eligibility Requirements: Community Navigator Pilot Program

Are you interested in applying to the Community Navigator Program? You need to meet the following eligibility requirements:

In order to apply, your business or organization must be a:

  • County governments
  • State governments
  • City or township governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized) or organizations
  • 501(c)(3) nonprofits
  • Nonprofit Colleges and Universities
  • Economic Development Organization or Similar Organization
  • SBA Resource Partners
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
  • Women’s Business Centers
  • Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs)
  • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI)

Camino Financial is a CDFI. which means we are a mission-driven financial organization that serves economically distressed communities. If you need capital for your small business, we can help.

Community Navigator Program

SBA Grant: Community Navigator Pilot Program Application

These are the steps to complete this SBA grant application. 

  • Learn how grant platforms work 

Familiarize yourself with Federal grant platforms like,, and Grant Solutions and the grant application process.

  • Learn more about Community Navigators

Review this SBA Information Notice to learn more about the Community Navigator Model.

  • Create a account

In order to apply, you and the team members that will help you will need to create a account.

Watch this quick video that will guide you to create a account.

  • Understand the grant

Read, review and understand the SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program application at

  • Start your application

Once you made sure your organization meets the eligibility requirements and demonstrates abilities to support the requirements, click on the Apply button on the site.

  • Create a workspace

Once you apply, you’ll have to create a workspace. A workspace is just the virtual place where you and your team can complete your application by filling the required forms

Watch this quick video with more information about how to apply and create a workspace on

  • Complete your application

You’ll have to fill in all the required information, upload required documents, and carefully follow all the instructions.

Make sure to double-check your application for errors

  • Submit your application

Once you’ve made sure your application is complete, has no mistakes, and is ready, submit it.

It is estimated that 50 organizations will receive the Community Navigator Pilot Program grant and the performance periods will start in September 2021.

Community Navigator Program

Helping Small Businesses Thrive

If you thought this SBA Program was a grant that could directly benefit small businesses through capital, you probably feel a bit disappointed to learn that it’s actually a program for organizations and local governments. But don’t worry, you could still get the capital you need to strengthen your small business.

Just like community navigators, at Camino Financial we love to support small businesses in underserved communities. We can offer you fast funding so you can keep reaching for success, even if you only have an ITIN!

Learn how much a small business loan could cost you

Term Loan Calculator




Check if you
qualify for a loan