GUILFORD COUNTY – Guilford County Government is ready to relaunch of its CARES Small Business Assistance Grant Program, designed to aid small businesses struggling amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The expanded and relaunched grant program will begin accepting online applications Mon., Aug.3.
This new relaunch builds on the original program, which started June 1, 2020, and has assisted over 1100 small businesses in Guilford County to date by awarding grants up to $10,000 totaling over $7.1M of assistance funds throughout the county. The updated eligibility criteria and frequently asked questions are available now on the county’s website.
Guilford County was one of three North Carolina counties to receive direct funds from the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in the amount of $93.7 million. Guilford County officials authorized the use of the CARES funds to help small business owners, recognizing that with a NC unemployment rate around 12.2%, stabilizing our small businesses is vital to recovery efforts. With roughly 600,000 residents, Guilford County met the 500,000+ population minimum requirement to qualify to receive tens of millions of dollars from the federal government to help small businesses through the CARES Act.
The revamp of the small business grant assistance program comes as a result of identifying the ongoing needs of local businesses throughout Guilford County. Some of the notable improvements to the online application criteria were put in place to help ensure federal grant funds reach a larger applicant pool than the initial phase of the program could accomplish. These revisions include:
• Increase to number of paid employees from no more than 25 to no more than 49.
• Total annual gross receipts of $3M or less, up from $2M.
• Removal of prior Federal Funding Restrictions
To be eligible, a business in Guilford County must have 49 or less Full Time or Equivalent positions and have suffered significant economic damages, temporary loss of revenue or job losses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly businesses that have been directly affected by state and local business closure orders. Additional specific eligibility criteria are listed in the application process.
The County's team has done a remarkable job launching a business relief program under these extreme circumstances and short timeframes. Getting 7 Million dollars in relief aid directly into the hands of our businesses is no small feat. After running Phase One for a little more than 30 days now, we have learned a lot, listened to the feedback from our business community, and feel that this relaunch will help address expansion eligibility to include more of our local business. Our number one goal has always been to get these relief funds to our businesses as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Acceptance of grant applications begin August 3 and will continue until all the remainder of the $20 million of initial allocated funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act are distributed.
Information regarding eligibility and the documents needed for the application will be made available Saturday, August 1 on the County’s website at www.guilfordcountync.gov. Businesses will be able to ask questions before completing an online application by calling (336) 641-5051 starting Monday, August 3, 2020 at 9:00AM. The money will be distributed to eligible businesses on a first come-first serve basis.