This $10,000 Grant Could Help Expand Your Small Business

Are you an entrepreneur with dreams of creating a profitable business? Nakia Vestal’s story is an inspiration to small businesses everywhere!

After escaping human trafficking as a teenager, Nakia Vestal began working at a beauty salon. She gained experience and decided to go into business for herself. With only $400, Vestal founded DollMaker Lashes, a beauty studio in Houston, Texas.

She began modestly, building her client base from her home. But with perseverance, discipline, and faith, Vestal transformed her business into a full-service lash studio, with her own product line. Unfortunately, Vestal’s business was affected by the economic slowdown of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, she received a $10,000 grant from Verizon’s Digital Ready program, which she credits as helping her expand. This grant from Verizon helps small businesses hurt by the pandemic, notably in historically underserved communities. So far, nearly 800 small businesses have received grants of up to $10,000 to help pay staff, rent, and other financial needs.

Here are four tips to help you succeed as an entrepreneur:
1. Apply for grants

There are plenty of financial options out there to help people achieve their small business dreams. is a grant listing directory with more than 1,000 grants available to small businesses.

2. Utilize social media

Social media is free marketing. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now you have TikTok. These are free tools you can use to really target whatever audience you’re trying to get.

3. Look for free resources

In the digital age, you can find just about anything on the internet — from free courses and advice columns to virtual mentors and networking events. Businesses can also generate extra funding by creating online fundraisers through crowdfunding platforms.

4. Help your community

Vestal believes she was able to beat the competition and land the $10,000 Verizon grant because she believes in giving back to her community. She also applied for the grant a second time after being turned down the first time around and credits her tenacity as a reason for her success.

“You have to find something to give back to you. It’s not only about my business,” Vestal said. “No, you have to find a cause. … Once you’re up, go back and pull somebody else up. That’s my motto.”

Story originally by Dymond Green.

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