Over 850 Business Receive Funding through City Recovery Fund

Local small businesses have received more than $8.3 million from the Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund.

The city has released insights into how the $10.5 million in CARES Act funding has been distributed thus far through three programs: Recovery Grants, Small Business Return Safely Grants and Pivot Loans.

More than 850 businesses have received funding through the program which launched in June. Initially, funds were limited to businesses with 25 employees or fewer in low- to moderate-income areas. In early August, the program was opened up to small businesses across the city and the county with 25 or fewer employees, regardless of income tract.

“In Columbus, 80% of all of our businesses are small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. In order for our recovery from the pandemic and resulting economic crisis to be successful and equitable, we must assure that small and minority-owned businesses recover and thrive,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther in a press release.

Breaking down the funding awarded thus far:

  •  83.7% of the grant awards approved were awarded to businesses within the City and 16.3% for businesses outside the City, but within Franklin County
  • 84% of businesses receiving grants are going to businesses with 5 or fewer employees
  • 379 (or 43%) businesses receiving grants are women-owned
  • 709 (or 80%) businesses receiving grants are minority-owned

City Council President Shannon Hardin discussed the importance of the city’s loan and grant programs compared to other options, like the Paycheck Protection Program.

“Because PPP relied on the financial institutions, larger businesses were favored over our micro-businesses and businesses owned by people of color,” Hardin said.

Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady noted that of the money that was awarded to Ohio Businesses through the PPP program, only about 3% went to minority-owned businesses. Comparatively, Hardin shared that 69% of the businesses that received funding through the city are Black-owned.

Director of Development Michael Stevens said that the dollars awarded were widely spread throughout the city, but with concentrations in a few key areas. The Cleveland Avenue corridor and the Downtown area both saw a higher number of applications and approvals. Heatmaps showing applications as well as awarded funding will be made available online through the city.

As for the remaining $2 million plus, the city said they are still processing applications from the program’s mid-September deadline. Stevens said there are enough businesses in the pipeline to distribute the remaining money. Henry Golatt, the City of Columbus Small Business Program Manager, also noted that a portion of the funding went to the technology and entrepreneurial support organizations necessary to administer the program.

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