The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) estimates that small businesses make up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses. Of the new jobs created between 1995 and 2020, small businesses accounted for 62%. Their importance to the local economy cannot be overstated.
“The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners really prioritized small business, allocating $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to assist them. Having the opportunity to support our small businesses is a privilege. Many of these businesses have been employing our residents and contributing to our local economy for over a decade,” said Marshall Day, Chairman of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED), the organization operating the program.
The Cherokee Small Business Grant provides small businesses under 500 employees that can demonstrate a negative economic impact from the pandemic with grants up to $30,000 (based on number of employees). The program’s first round just completed, recognizing 35 small businesses that have persevered through the challenges of the pandemic.
COED has launched a second round of funding with $500,000 currently available. The grant application portal is open April 17 through April 30. Full eligibility and program details are available at COED’s website, www.cherokeega.org/grants. Small businesses that have suffered a negative economic impact from the pandemic are encouraged to apply.
Round One’s 35 grant recipients attending a recent “Grant Check Event” ranged from restaurants and retailers to dentists and IT professionals. Dylan Brown, owner of the Ball Ground Burger Bus restaurant, expressed his appreciation this way, “Wow this is such a blessing! Thank you, folks, for helping our community and myself with this grant, I can’t begin to tell you how grateful all of us are at the Burger Bus family!”
Owner of small business Mini-Med Clinic of North Georgia, Sophia Kennedy, was equally enthusiastic, “We, at Mini-Med Clinic of North Georgia, are so grateful to Cherokee County for prioritizing support for small businesses! This grant was important in giving us added resources needed to meet some of the critical urgent medical needs of the residents of Cherokee County and will enable our clinic to expand upon our efforts to educate our community about wellness practices. We are just excited to be in a county that supports and cares about small businesses.”