Small business relief grants available

More than $60 million will be available to small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program — approved by the Minnesota Legislature and signed by Gov. Tim Walz — will begin accepting applications Tuesday, June 23, the agency announced.

The program will provide $10,000 grants to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, according to a news release. Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees are eligible. Half of the funding will go to businesses in greater Minnesota and half to businesses in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, as required by law.

Additional requirements include:

  • $18 million for businesses with six or fewer full-time employees;

  • $10 million for minority business enterprises;

  • $2.5 million for veteran-owned businesses;

  • $2.5 million for women-owned businesses; and

  • $2.5 million for operators of indoor retail and food markets with an ethnic cultural emphasis.

“Small businesses across our state urgently need this relief,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in the release. “DEED applauds the bipartisan action to pass this legislation, and we are grateful to Governor Walz for signing the bill quickly so we could immediately get this grant program up and running.”
The application period will begin Tuesday, June 23, and close at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 2, to fulfill the 10-day period required by the law. A randomized, computer-generated lottery process will select eligible businesses to receive awards. All awards will be administered by qualified local and regionally based nonprofit agencies and the funds can be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills and other similar business expenses.

To be eligible, businesses must have a permanent physical location in Minnesota and be majority owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota, the release said. Businesses must be able to demonstrate hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Additional eligibility requirements and application information can be found online at DEED’s Small Business Relief Grants page.

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