Frisco approves tiered business assistance and innovation grants
Frisco officials approved a pair of new grant programs to help local businesses that continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health restrictions, and reward businesses that have been able to innovate quickly to adapt to the crisis.
The Frisco Town Council held a special meeting Monday, Dec. 21, in which officials signed off on the reintroduction of the town’s Business Assistance Program. In April, Frisco launched the program with a $500,000 investment to support independently-owned businesses in town. The town council unanimously voted to bring the program back for another round, this time geared more specifically to the businesses most impacted by current public health prohibitions.
“We know as a result of the pandemic a lot of strange things have happened, and one of the more unexpected positive things that happened was this summer a lot of our businesses did better than anticipated,” said Town Manager Nancy Kerry. “We want a program that targets those that continue to be in need.”
The new program will operate with a tiered approach based on the percentage decline in revenue between January and November compared to last year. Business that can show a decline in revenue will be eligible for grants between $2,500 and $10,000 depending on the percent lost.
In order to be eligible applicants must have a valid business license with the town issued on or before March 1, 2020, must be current on sales tax payments, and the business cannot be a owned or controlled by a publicly traded corporation. This time around individuals who operate a business virtually or remotely out of their homes will also be eligible for assistance, as long as they can prove they’ve been significantly impacted by public health restrictions and meet the rest of the criteria.
“The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity, and an amazing amount of work has already been done to help all of our businesses, but I think we’re trying to figure out those who need more and those who have been kind of caught in the cracks,” said Mayor Hunter Mortensen. “… I’m in full support, and I think it will really help us address those we’ve missed or who haven’t been able to get assistance yet.”
In addition to the Business Assistance Program, the town is also implementing a new Innovation Grant, meant to reimburse businesses for capital improvements they’ve incurred to try and make their shops and restaurants operate better during the pandemic, such as outdoor dining structures, improved air filtration systems, and no-touch features for customers.
Businesses can receive innovation grants up to $5,000 as long as they have a valid business license issued on or before Oct. 1, 2020, and have a physical business located in town along with other eligibility requirements. Of note, businesses must also not have any public health order violations to be eligible for either grant.
The town is allocating $500,000 to fund both programs.
Officials also took the opportunity to laud many town staff members for the work they’ve been doing behind the scenes to help businesses reopen under the 5-star program, and in organizing the two new grant programs.
“They are public servants, and they served the public,” said Council Member Andrew Aerenson. “There was a lot of back office work that was enthusiastically embraced … not just with the effort, but the attitude.”
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