Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Program will provide grants of $5,000 – $20,000 to local small businesses
[Columbus, OH] An additional $8 million is now available through the Columbus-Franklin County Small Business Recovery Fund to help Central Ohio small businesses continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funding will be prioritized for businesses that are located in underserved communities and are minority-, woman- or veteran-owned. Federal funding and support from local resources are meant to protect the small business economy and help entrepreneurship flourish in the region.
“This collaboration and the funding that’s been available as a result puts us all one step closer to solving a problem currently facing our small business owners. It’s no secret that there is limited awareness of existing resources available to this segment of the business community. The Columbus – Franklin County coalition will help amplify these types of opportunities so that small businesses can continue to thrive and prosper,” Councilmember Nick Bankston said. “This team will continue to address the awareness challenge and the disproportionate challenges that face People of Color and women in these spaces.”
“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 entrepreneurs at the front of the line for local funding, we hope to support businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic by enabling them to continue keeping their employees and customers safe, and hire or re-hire our residents in steady, good-paying jobs.”
The program is sponsored by the City of Columbus and Franklin County, which equally funded the new phase of 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, translation services and guidance to local small business owners.
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 an additional full-time employee within two months and maintaining their payroll for four months after receiving initial grant funding.
Grants may be used to help small businesses mitigate financial hardship due to loss of sales, re-hire previously lost positions, hire new employees, train and re-train staff, adopt safer operating procedures and seek out business growth opportunities.
“I am very proud of our community partners for their efforts to support our small businesses in this way. 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.”
Business owners interested in applying for a grant may go to www.smallbusinessrecoverygrant.com to access and submit an application. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with the first deadline occurring on March 18 with funding extending into September.