City Businesses Get More Time to Apply for COVID Impact Money. County Applications Soar.
Fresno businesses now have until the end of Friday to submit applications to receive up to a $10,000 grant.
The city extended its Save Our Small Businesses Act application process for one week.
This is the second round of funding for the program. Councilman Mike Karbassi, who helped author the program, said the extension will allow more businesses to apply.
“There was some confusion because some people still didn’t realize they have to reapply. So we’ve had employees going all around the city going to small businesses and asking them to please apply,” Karbassi said.
Related Story: Need $5K or $10K Grant for Small Business to Survive COVID? Apply Now.
Second Round of Funding
The first round, using $750,000 from the general fund was a forgivable 0% interest loan. Using a lottery system, the city awarded 118 small businesses $5,000 (for businesses five employees or fewer) and $10,000 (six or more).
This time, the city is using $2 million from federal funding as a grant — meaning no repayment is required. Grants will still use the same $10,000/$5,000 format.
There are more restrictions the second time around. Karbassi said this was to prioritize businesses that were deemed non-essential, and could not open because of city orders related to the pandemic.
The restrictions include the type of business eligible, not receiving relief funds from another source, and experience at least a 25% loss of revenue because of COVID-19.
“There were some businesses that were totally shut down and couldn’t open at all. I would say they were hit a lot harder because they couldn’t bring in any income,” Karbassi said. “The main goal of the Save Our Small Businesses Act is to actually save businesses. We want to make sure we offer that lifeboat to those businesses that were the hardest hit.”
Eligibility information and applications can be found here.
County Program Lottery Today
A similar program administered by Fresno County received 1,359 applicants for 1,000 available grants, county officials said Monday.
As the application deadline neared last week, only 650 businesses had sought out the funds, the county said. In the waning days of the application period, however, the number of applications more than doubled.
A county spokesman says a lottery will take place today to select the businesses that will receive grants of up to $5,000.
Funding for the county’s $5 million program is coming from the federal CARES Act passed by Congress in March.
Related Story: $5,000 Grants Available for Fresno County Small Businesses