More Grand Rapids businesses now eligible for Small Business COVID Adaptation grants

With approximately $ 165,000 of CARES Act COVID Adaptation Program funds remaining in its coffers, the Grand Rapids City Economic Development Office has expanded eligibility for small business COVID Adaptation Program grants. Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are funding the program.

The city has already provided $ 100,000 in grants to 12 companies in the Grand Rapids Neighborhoods of Focus, 17 census counts in the middle west, southeast, and south of Grand Rapids. Because of historical inequalities, residents and businesses in these areas differ most in terms of income, educational opportunities, home ownership and wealth accumulation. Grand Rapids has a total of 47 census areas.

“We were really on purpose in the first” [round of grants] to use this money only for the neighborhoods of focus. We wanted to give them the privilege of investing in the areas that haven’t been invested in before, ”says Jeremiah Gracia, Director of Economic Development for the City of Grand Rapids. “We wanted to get this special funding for these areas. That was our focus – on justice and just results. “

Examples of Grand Rapids small businesses that have already used their grants from the COVID Adjustment Program include Cindy’s Chicken Coop and Putt-Putts Bar, both of which have expanded outdoor seating; Love’s Ice Cream, which made website and point of sales system upgrades to accommodate online ordering; and Swift Printing Co., which purchased indoor air purifiers, as well as outdoor furniture and an online point of sales system.

“In the end, we got more items for the air purification system and the walk-up copy service. For all these copies in next to no time. The air purification system gives our employees peace of mind as everyone is still talking about COVID, ”said Jessica Gutowski-Slaydon, President, Swift Printing Co.” The walk-up service is slowly bringing people to our store to get copies. We started out as a company where 100% of our customers stopped by to place an order. Now most of our work is done through our website or email. This copy center has allowed us to go back to our roots and do more face to face with to get in touch with our community. ” Air purifiers at Swift Printing

The new round of grants includes Focus neighborhoods as well as six corridor improvement agencies: Michigan Street, North Quarter, South Division-Grandville, Southtown, Uptown and West Side. To qualify for a grant of up to $ 10,000, for-profit companies must have between 1 and 25 employees (at least one full-time, low- or middle-income position), have a physical location, and have been in business since March 1, 2020, Demonstrate lost revenue due to the pandemic and not owe any overdue taxes, fines, fees, or other debts to the city.

“When the pandemic first broke out and construction work closed, we obviously had some delays. I think this grant mainly helps these neighborhoods to really activate these spaces, for example by adding outdoor seating, ”says Gracia. “The grants will complement the traditional CIA tax hike. The CIA will be able to use the funds raised annually for its original purposes while the grants are obtained [COVID-related needs] like outdoor activation and engagement in public spaces. They still need some support for their small businesses. “

The announcement of the new round of scholarships took place on October 25th. Gracia notes that by October 28th, numerous small businesses had submitted applications. Corridor Improvement Authority messages and even through door-to-door visits. There is no set deadline for completing the application, but grants are awarded on a first come, first served basis until funds are used up. You can find the application here.

“Our retail retention specialist and CIA corridor manager will help companies fill out application forms, collect documents and fill out applications,” says Gracia. “We have worked very hard to make it as easy as possible and we are adding another level of support to help these people conquer the dollars they have at their disposal.”

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