Monroe County commits $15M in funding to support small businesses
Monroe County has decided to commit $15 million in CARES Act funding to support local small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through the Fast Forward Monroe Small Business Grant Program.
The grant program is a direct response to the Fast Forward Monroe business survey released earlier this year, and will provide financial assistance to small businesses with two to 50 full-time employees in the personal services industry, including retail and dining.
The program aims to provide funds to businesses with the greatest needs, while helping as many small businesses as possible. Businesses that have not yet received COVID-related aid and minority and women owned businesses will be prioritized in this round of funding. A study released in August by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce showed that minority-owned businesses have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and that nearly two in three minority small business owners were worried about having to permanently close their businesses due to the pandemic.
“It’s no secret that COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of our lives, but it has especially affected the economic vitality of our small businesses, many of which serve as the backbone of our local economy,” said County Executive Adam Bello. “Recent studies show that minority-owned small businesses have suffered an even more dramatic hit and have been left struggling to find funding to help weather the storm. We’re able to make this critical investment in our small businesses and prioritize those most in need thanks to the federal CARES Act funding secured for Monroe County by Congressman Joe Morelle, Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.”
The Monroe County Department of Planning and Development, in conjunction with the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Greater Rochester Enterprise, released the Fast Forward Monroe business survey throughout the months of August and September in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Results of the survey showed that in addition to needing PPE and other critical supplies, many small businesses were seeking financial assistance to help cover COVID-related business expenses and other funding shortfalls.
Eligible applicants to the Fast Forward Monroe Small Business Grant Program will receive:
- Up to $10,000 in funding for businesses with between 0 and 2 employees
- Up to $15,000 for businesses with 3 – 25 full-time employees
- Up to $20,000 for businesses with 26-50 full-time employees
Businesses applying for the Fast Forward Monroe grant funding must be for profit, provide their NY 45 or similar documents as of June 30, 2020 and submit appropriate banking information. Previous year’s tax returns will not be required. Ineligible industries include professional service firms such as doctor’s offices, lawyers/law firms, engineering firms and financial managers.
Applications for the Fast Forward Monroe Small Business Grant Program are available at www.monroecounty.gov/fastforwardmonroe. The deadline to apply is Monday, November 2, 2020.