Small business grants target those affected by pandemic

The Cherokee Office of Economic Development is partnering with Cherokee County government to launch a grant program to help small businesses affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Called the Cherokee Low to Moderate Income (LMI) Small Business Grant. The $300,000 grant program, paid for through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is part of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act money accepted by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners.

“It will provide assistance to local small businesses that meet certain salary requirements and can be used for ongoing operational costs such as payroll, vendors, utilities, rent, and personal protective equipment,” COED officials said in a statement. “Grant amounts are up to $10,000 per small business.”

Among the eligibility factors are:

♦ Businesses must have experienced a negative economic impact due to the Coronavirus pandemic;

♦ Businesses should employ 50 or fewer W2 positions;

♦ Businesses should be retaining, rehiring, or creating jobs meeting the LMI salary threshold from HUD’s published income limits of no more than $46,350 annually for full-time employees — salaries for FTE employees will be scaled accordingly; 70 percent of retained, rehired, or created jobs submitted for consideration must meet the $46,350 salary requirement;

♦ Businesses cannot be awarded a grant if still in receipt of other federal benefits, including PPP and EIDL.

The grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. To ensure a fair and objective process, each qualified application will be evaluated by an independent review committee. COED anticipates announcing grant recipients in November. The application portal will be open from Sept.10 to Sept. 30. For full program information, visit the COED Grants page at www.cherokeega.org/grants.

Cherokee Tribune