Small businesses, non-profits in Lucas County can apply for grant

Kelly J. Kaczala

       The Lucas County Commissioners last week approved a resolution to provide $1.5 million in Small Business Stabilization Fund grants to assist Main Street businesses and non-profit organization in Lucas County that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
        In partnership with the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, the commissioners have created the Small Business Stabilization Fund from a share of the dollars the county received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Beginning last Tuesday, qualifying small businesses and non-profit organizations can submit applications to the Chamber of Commerce for reimbursement of certain eligible expenses. Applications will be taken on a first come, first served basis until funds for the program are exhausted. All program funds must be expended by Dec. 31, 2020.
A lifeline
        “Our small businesses and community non-profits are struggling to survive and are in desperate need of assistance because of the pandemic,” said Tina Skeldon Wozniak, president of the Board of County Commissioners. “By sharing a portion of the county’s CARES Act funds, we are giving a lifeline to Main Street businesses and the non-profits that provide valuable services to help our county residents in so many ways.”
        Any Lucas County business meeting the eligibility requirements is encouraged to learn more about the Small Business Stabilization Fund at Chamber of Commerce membership is not required nor will it be a consideration to receive funds.
        The commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce are targeting a cumulative participation rate of 15 percent to be awarded to businesses within the county owned by women, minorities or veterans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
        “Lucas County is working to help residents through this difficult time,” said Commissioner Pete Gerken. “Among those struggling the most during the COVID-19 recession are the small businesses in the working class neighborhoods. We must assure that small businesses and businesses owned by people of color will benefit from these funds so they can not only recover but thrive.”
        Small Business Stabilization Fund grants are available to businesses and non-profit organizations that have a physical location in Lucas County, employ 50 people or less, and earned less than $5 million in revenue in 2019. To qualify, firms must demonstrate that they will suffer a loss in gross revenue in 2020.
        Eligible expenses include salaries, wages, and compensation paid to employees, rent or lease payments, mortgage costs including interest, utilities, insurance, inventory and supplies, personal protective equipment or other Responsible RestartOhio related costs.
        Through the program, businesses with 20 or fewer employees will be eligible for grants up to $10,000 and firms employing 21 to 50 workers can receive up to $25,000.
        “The impact of this ongoing pandemic has been especially difficult on our small business community in that many rely on walk-in traffic and events for revenues,” said Commissioner Gary L. Byers. “This is a good example of government partnering with business advocates to provide the necessary relief to those that have been hardest hit and need help to keep their doors open.”
        “The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce thanks the Lucas County Commissioners for addressing this critical need for relief of Lucas County small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19,” said Wendy Gramza, president and CEO of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber has been focusing its efforts on helping our businesses through this unprecedented situation. This includes connecting businesses to information and resources and working with our government leaders toward solutions that strengthen our business and support the economic recovery of the region. This partnership represents a logical extension of those efforts.”


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