Pandemic Relief: $500000 grant funding for small businesses - St. Helens Chronicle

Pandemic Relief: $500000 grant funding for small businesses - St. Helens Chronicle


Pandemic Relief: $500000 grant funding for small businesses - St. Helens Chronicle

Posted: 06 Oct 2020 11:30 AM PDT

Columbia County Economic Team (CCET), Columbia Pacific Economic Development District (Col-Pac) have announced the immediate opening of a new round of grant funding to directly benefit small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grant Funding

The new round of Business Oregon Emergency Small Business grants resembles CCET's first round in July, with three major and significant changes: The available funding amount is high, grants may be for a larger amount, and businesses that received CARES Act funding are now eligible to apply for grants.

The new round of Business Oregon Emergency Small Business grants resembles CCET's first round in July, with three major and significant changes: The available funding amount is high, grants may be for a larger amount, and businesses that received CARES Act funding are now eligible to apply for grants.

On direction from the Oregon Legislative Emergency Board, Business Oregon, has allocated $500,000 in state funds to the region for the purpose of providing direct financial assistance to small businesses and non-profit organizations that have been adversely affected by economic conditions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information and applications are available at smallbizhub.columbiacountyoregon.com. All applications are due by midnight, Saturday Oct. 17.

New changes and eligibility

The three new changes in the grant program are extremely important, according to Paul Vogel, CCET Executive Director.

"In the first round, if you'd received PPP or EIDL funding, you couldn't apply for a state grant," Vogel said. "The rules have been changed, and that's very welcome important news for many Columbia County businesses. Also, the grant award opportunity has been increased, applicants may receive up to $50,000 if they qualify."

CARES Act recipients that received $100,000 or more are not eligible, however, according to the new rules. Grants of $5,000 and above are now available to small businesses that have received less than $100,000 in federal relief. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees are eligible if they were either forced to shut down by state order or can demonstrate a 25% drop in gross revenue in a given month between March and August of 2020, compared to the same month 2019.

Documenting revenue reductions is necessary for successful applicants. CCET, Col-Pac and the County already completed one round of grant awards, distributing checks for nearly $225,000 in August.

Vogel said that those same grant recipients also are eligible to apply anew.

"We were glad to be able to get critical money out to applicants in Round 1. Those applicants can apply again, using a short-form, streamlined supplemental application that's also available on our website," Vogel said.

According to the state program small businesses and some non-profits are eligible if they are:

  • Located In Columbia County
  • Registered in Oregon
  • Current/compliant on taxes
  • Adversely impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • 25 or fewer employees as of February 29, 2020
  • 25% or more reduction to sales as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Federally registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits

"This is critical, flexible money that business owners can put to immediate use in adapting their business, retaining employees, any number of things that will help them adjust, navigate, recover, stay open and maintain resilience," Vogel said.

Apply immediately

"Col-Pac is pleased to work with Business Oregon and CCET to make these funds available to our small businesses in Columbia County, but it's important to note that this $500,000 is for our entire region, including Clatsop, Tillamook and western Washington Counties," Ayreann Colombo, Executive Director of Col-Pac, said. "There is more money available from the state if we commit all of this, but that puts a premium on business-owners immediately filing applications, just as soon as possible."

Colombo said Col-Pac hopes that these grants as well as other important services will help business owners and communities continue to find their footing through this public health and economic crisis.

Eligible applications will be reviewed for potential funding and notified if a grant award will be made. Grant checks will be available by Nov. 15.

Businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. If the total amount of grant funds requested exceeds the available funds, a random selection process will be conducted to determine grant awardees.

More help for small businesses

This small business grant fund is yet another program currently underway through CCET. CCET also is hosting an eight-week small business workshop series, "COVID Business Tune-Up,"one hour per week each Monday from 12 noon –1 p.m. Oct. 12 –Nov. 30. The workshops are offered online to a maximum of 50 people. Attendees also will have access to the recorded sessions to refer to later. Each participant will be asked to submit a feedback card at the conclusion of each session that will help develop future workshops of interest to them. Registration is online at smallbizhub.columbiacountyoregon.com and must be received by Oct. 11.

Through generosity of sponsors, the entire series carries a discounted price of $50. Those who attend all eight sessions will be eligible for a $200 grant for local goods and services.

The COVID Business Tune-Up workshop series is presented in partnership by CCET, Wauna Credit Union, South County Chamber of Commerce, Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce, Rainier Chamber of Commerce, and Keep It Local Columbia County.

CCET, is comprised of local governments and private businesses that drive countywide collaboration to retain and grow our businesses, and also recruit new companies that will feed a balanced economy. CCET is right at ground-level during this pandemic: focusing on small business with daily news and resource posts; small business website; collaborations throughout the county; accessing grant, material and loan funds for small business; providing low-cost PPE, and more. With regional and state partners, they are actively recruiting businesses that even now are looking to use this historic disruption to make even more change by expanding or relocating, positioning their company for the new and forever-altered future

Keep It Local Columbia County is a CCET program driven community leaders, business owners, and community organizations that have come together to spearhead to promote local businesses as community assets, support economic development, and ensure economic vitality for businesses and organizations throughout Columbia County, Oregon. Keep It Local Columbia County's goal is to help citizens find the true value in a, successful range of local businesses and to promote shopping locally whenever possible in order to sustain healthy and economically balanced communities.

The Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District (Col-Pac) is a private non-profit organization established to assist in diversifying and strengthening the economy and livability of Northwest Oregon. The District covers all of Clatsop, Columbia, and Tillamook counties and the western part of Washington County.

Evers announces $109 million in grants for Wisconsin small businesses hurt by the pandemic, including hotels, music venues, movie theaters - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: 06 Oct 2020 12:11 PM PDT

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As the Wisconsin economy continues to struggle six months into the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Tony Evers has announced $109 million in new and renewed grant funding for small businesses.

Among those that stand to benefit: music venues, hotels, restaurants, bars, nonprofit cultural venues, and privately owned movie theaters.

"It's really focused on our mom-and-pops, our Main Street businesses. We want to get dollars into their hands," said Missy Hughes, CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. "These businesses are so stressed. It would really help with what they're facing."

Evers announced the grants Tuesday, which will use money earmarked by the federal CARES Act that passed in March. The same day, President Donald Trump rejected Democrats' latest offer for an additional COVID-19 stimulus package, saying he wanted negotiations on hold until after the election. 

"Small businesses, including the tourism and lodging industries, are the backbone of our Wisconsin communities. The ongoing pandemic, combined with a lack of action at the federal level may force many of these businesses to shutter their doors for good," Evers said in a statement. "That's why we're investing another $100 million in businesses and communities across our state. Our communities are in desperate need of additional federal support, but we can't wait a moment longer to do what we can here in Wisconsin."  

Of that $109 million, Evers has committed $50 million to WEDC's "We're All In" grant program established this summer that awarded $65 million worth of grants to about 26,000 small businesses. The governor's office will be issuing $5,000 grants to an additional 10,000 businesses, including restaurants, bars and salons. Applications can be filed from 8 a.m. Oct. 19 through Nov. 2 at revenue.wi.gov. Businesses that previously received "We're All In" grants are still eligible to apply.

Additionally, five new grant programs will target different sectors of the entertainment and tourism industries.

A $20 million grant program will benefit Wisconsin hotels, a $3.7 billion industry that's being decimated in 2020, with up to two-thirds of all Wisconsin hotels possibly closing within the next 12 months without additional support, according to the governor's office. 

The pandemic has also put the live music industry on ice, with many venues across the state closed indefinitely. Evers has announced a $15 million grant program to benefit those businesses, and an additional $10 million for a previously established grant program benefiting nonprofit cultural venues.

"We are very very fortunate to be in Wisconsin and having the support we're getting from Gov. Evers," said Gary Witt, CEO of the Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee. "This is a little victory and it feels nice. … It's been a long time since we've had a little victory." 

In April, Witt co-founded the National Independent Venue Association, which has been lobbying Washington for aid, with about 90% of its nearly 3,000 members reporting they will have to shut down permanently without it. In Milwaukee alone, four entertainment venues have closed or announced their impending closure because of the pandemic.

Witt said eligible Wisconsin venues will be able to receive grants worth 25% of their 2019 sales or $500,000, whichever value is less.

"This doesn't save us or save the industry in the state of Wisconsin, or solve all of our problems," Witt said. "But it gives us a band-aid on a wound that needs stitches while we await assistance from our federal government."

The movie theater industry is also suffering, with many theaters closed for more than three months only to reopen to low attendance and a lack of big titles from a hesitant Hollywood. In Wisconsin, privately owned movie theaters will be eligible to apply for relief from a new $10 million grant program. 

"By acknowledging the tremendously dire situation that our industry is facing in the midst of this pandemic, Gov. Evers has created a program to help bridge us to the other side," George Rouman, president of the National Association of Theater Owners of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, and owner of Rouman Cinema in Rhinelander, said in a statement. "We are thankful to be operating in a state that has identified our struggle, and also recognizes the cultural importance that our movie theaters have in their communities."      

But Rouman also said that the relief will be short-term for theater operators in the state, saying that without federal aid, 69% of small and midsize movie theater companies will have to file for bankruptcy or close down permanently.

On Tuesday, Evers also announced an additional $4 million for a grant program announced last month aimed at tourism businesses. 

Track COVID-19 in Wisconsin: See the latest numbers and trends

Jeff Bollier of the Green Bay Press-Gazette contributed to this report. 

Contact Piet at (414) 223-5162 or plevy@journalsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter at @pietlevy or Facebook at facebook.com/PietLevyMJS.

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