The Franklin County COVID-19 small businesses response and recovery program is adding $8 million to help small businesses in Central Ohio. The fund was created to offer grants, technical assistance, and low-interest loans for small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
“Roughly 100,000 businesses closed in just the first six months of the pandemic and an estimated 3.5 million women lost or left their jobs for a variety of issues, including lack of childcare,” stated Franklin County Commissioner Board President Erica C. Crawley. “Many businesses still struggle and many childcare centers haven’t yet reopened. That’s why this cooperative effort is so important now.”
This funding will prioritize small business growth in underserved communities and that are minority- ,woman-, and veteran owned businesses.
“Minority- and women-owned businesses were more likely to miss their chance or be passed over for Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “By putting these business owners at the front of the line for local funding, we hope to support business disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, so they may continue to keep their employees and customers safe, and re-hire our residents to steady, good-paying jobs.”
Businesses may apply for one of three grants:
- $5,000 recovery grants for self-employed, single entity, sole proprietors and sole owner LLCs.
- $10,000 recovery grants for small businesses with at least one full-time employee.
- $20,000 job restoration grants for businesses with at least one full-time employee that lost employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses will receive an initial $10,000 recovery grant and will be eligible to receive an additional $10,000 for hiring a full-time employee within two months and maintaining their payroll for four months after receiving initial grant funding.
The Ohio Small Business Development Center at Columbus State Community College will provide program management. The Wells Foundation will act as the fiduciary agent, and Community Outreach Partners will provide education, to translate and guide local small business owners. Business owners are now eligible to apply for the grant. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with an early deadline on March 18 with funding extending into September.
“The pandemic and fluctuating economy has affected everyone; however, we’re paying special attention to those who are especially vulnerable, and this program gives us a way to help mitigate the financial hardships that the pandemic has brought,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “Elevating and supporting small businesses is one of our highest priorities.”
Grants will be used to help small businesses recover from financial hardships and move in a more positive direction. Funding helps businesses with loss in sales, rehire previous positions, train and retrain staff, and business growth initiatives.
For more information, Visit SBDCColumbus.com/Columbus-Franklin-County-Recovery-Grant.