Groundswell Capital and the City of Tucson have collaborated on a newly launched $1 million grant program to help local small businesses.

Groundswell’s CEO Dre Thompson introduced the Changemakers Grant Program, which is designed to provide small businesses with flexible, free capital to support their expansion.

We have $500,000 to disburse to small businesses, and another part of this thats pretty cool as well is we have an additional half a million for a low-interest loan for small businesses, Thompson said.

Thompson detailed the variety of grants available, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, and highlighted the unique opportunity for startups to receive funding.

One of the exciting ones, which is never available, is funding to start a business. So we have up to $5,000 to start a brand new business in Tucson, Thompson said.

The program extends a helping hand to entrepreneurs like Drew Berryhill, owner of Drutopia, who applied for the grant to enhance his business and community impact.

Berryhill, who started Drutopia four years ago, expressed his initial skepticism about the grant but found alignment with the program’s mission and values.

When I first heard about it, I was doubtful, and then Im hearing about who it involved and what their mission was, it definitely started to align, so I was pleasantly surprised, Berryhill said.

He acknowledged the significance of this support, especially as a sole proprietor, and hopes to honor his late mother’s legacy through his business endeavors.

I would be proud in a way of knowing that my mom will be looking down on me like being proud, you know? Because this was inspired and cultivated from all the things that she instilled in me, said Berryhill.

Applications for the Changemakers Grant Program will be accepted until February 11.