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HARLEM, Manhattan — The Harlem Commonwealth Council is a lifeline for small businesses like Sudsy Laundry and Dry Cleaning.

Owner LaChena Clark was able to keep her doors open thanks to their support, especially over the last 15 months.

For 55 years, the nonprofit group has focused on building up Black-owned businesses in Harlem by providing resources that level the playing field.

Aside from providing loans, the council also teachers entrepreneurs the skills required to successfully run a business.

The classes offered by the Harlem Commonwealth Council helped chef Cisse open up two restaurants along Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard.

Restaurants like Ponty Bistro were crippled by COVID-19.

Through the programs provided by the Harlem Commonwealth Council, Chef Cisse was able to hire back his employees at both of his locations. 

Brick-and-mortar businesses aren’t the only ones who benefit from the council either.

They’ve distributed over $6 million in capital to nearly 300 small businesses across Harlem, helping plant the seeds of success for the future.