Summit Chamber announces $100,000 in business grants
The Summit Chamber of Commerce has rolled out a grant program for businesses struggling to get by during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Innovation Grant program is meant to help businesses continue to operate through the pandemic and related restrictions.
The program, which is funded by Summit County government and administered by the Summit Chamber of Commerce, will dole out $100,000, and businesses can request up to $5,000 each.
Blair McGary, executive director of the Summit Chamber, said the funding comes from the county’s general fund rather than CARES Act money, which has to be spent by the end of the year.
According to a newsletter from the Summit Chamber, the goal of the program is to “help businesses operate at the highest level while maintaining public health protocols.” The grant program is meant to help businesses carry out innovative ideas to do business amid COVID-19 restrictions, such as creating or expanding outdoor dining or retail.
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“If businesses are having to implement something that they would not normally have to do in order to operate safely and adhere to the updated COVID restrictions, that would be considered the right intent for this type of grant,” McGary said.
McGary listed examples of innovative projects that the grant could fund, including buying and setting up heating devices for outdoor spaces, or tents or igloos to be used appropriately for outdoor dining. The newsletter also listed implementation of computer software to move to online purchases and to-go ordering as an example of a business innovation the grant could help fund.
“Anything that is going to amplify or make improvements for your outdoor space,” McGary said about how grant funding can be used. “The ventilation systems, HVAC systems are a huge part of the conversation where we’re looking at this 5 Star (Business Certification) Program. And we would absolutely consider any kind of upgrades to your ventilation system or having to purchase portable HEPA filters … anything you’re having to do in order to operate during these challenging times.”
Grant applications are being accepted through Dec. 30. In order to be eligible for the grant, a business must:
- Have a physical location in Summit County
- Show a negative financial impact as a result of the pandemic
- Demonstrate how the grant funds will be used to adapt to restrictions and help slow the spread of the virus
Interested business owners can apply by filling out an application at Bit.ly/2KBbtqC. Applicants also must email their W-9, a summary of 2019 revenue versus 2020 revenue, an estimate of project expenses and a copy of their business license to firstname.lastname@example.org. Businesses must spend all grant money by June 1, cannot use grant money for past expenses and will be asked to provide documentation of how the grant was spent. McGary said the application is designed to be completed swiftly.
A committee of seven people from the chamber will be evaluating the applications. McGary said the chamber hopes to provide a quick turnaround for funding with checks going out in the first week or two of January.
If all business owners who are accepted spend the maximum amount of funding allowed, the program would help 20 businesses. McGary said the chamber will gauge interest and that there could be opportunities for increased funding for the program.
“We know that these are the restrictions that we’re living in,” McGary said. “We know that they’re going to be in place for some time to come in some form or fashion. … We do know that these are costly upgrades for a lot of businesses, and anything that we can do to help, we want to.”
To be eligible, a business must:
• Have a physical location in Summit County
• Show a negative financial impact as a result of the pandemic
• Demonstrate how the grant funds will be used to adapt to restrictions and help slow the spread of the virus
To apply, email the following to email@example.com by Dec. 30:
• Completed application: Bit.ly/2KBbtqC
• Summary of 2019 revenue versus 2020 revenue
• Estimate of project expenses
• Copy of business license
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