Village of Mukwonago to launch small business grant program - BizTimes - Milwaukee Business News

Village of Mukwonago to launch small business grant program - BizTimes - Milwaukee Business News


Village of Mukwonago to launch small business grant program - BizTimes - Milwaukee Business News

Posted: 27 Jul 2020 09:56 AM PDT

Money

The village of Mukwonago has partnered with Mukwonago-based Citizens Bank to provide local small business owners impacted by COVID-19 with grants of up to $5,000.

Grant funds can be used for eligible expenses which include rent and mortgage payments, employee payroll or benefits, exterior lighting or signage and technological improvements. The goal of the grant program is to help small businesses recover from pandemic-related closures, according to a press release.

"This partnership presents an opportunity for the village to provide direct financial support to our small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our community, especially the downtown area," Mukwonago village administrator John Weidl said in a statement.

Businesses eligible for the grant program must be located within the boundaries of the village and have an annual sales or revenue of less than $1 million. The village is accepting applications through Aug. 31, 2020.

"Citizens Bank has long-standing relationship with the Village of Mukwonago as well as with many businesses throughout the village," Citizens Bank president and chief executive officer Jeff Standafer said in a statement. "When we saw the opportunity to help our neighbor businesses through these challenging times, we knew we wanted to step up."

Full details on eligibility and applications can be found on the village of Mukwonago or Citizens Bank website.

Citizens Bank, formerly known as Citizens Bank of Mukwonago, is an independent, locally owned bank with an asset size of $893 million. The bank operates 12 branches in southeastern Wisconsin and employs 170 people.

Lujan Grisham to announce $50M for small-business grants - Santa Fe New Mexican

Posted: 24 Jul 2020 08:30 PM PDT

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham plans to allocate $50 million in federal stimulus funds to set up local grant programs for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The money will be taken from $150 million in funding for local governments approved as part of a budget solvency bill signed by Lujan Grisham late last month, the Governor's Office said.

"Ideally, this money will get out to businesses that weren't going to make it otherwise," said Dan Schlegel, Lujan Grisham's small-business and entrepreneurship adviser. "It'll be beneficial and crucial for many businesses."

The governor plans to announce the grant program Monday.

The announcement comes as small businesses across New Mexico are laying off workers and struggling to survive since the state mandated partial or total closures through its public health restrictions.

While legislators approved a small-business loan fund during the June special session, the new program will mark the first time New Mexico has given grants to small businesses during the pandemic.

New Mexico will join other states that have launched similar grant programs since the pandemic began. Idaho and Mississippi, for instance, also have set up grant programs using federal funding.

New Mexico cities and counties will be able to apply to the state's Department of Finance and Administration to have their coronavirus-related spending reimbursed with federal stimulus funding.

As they do so, they also will be able to apply for money to set up their own small-business grant programs, and each local government could then make the grants to businesses, Schlegel said. Municipalities would determine maximum grant amounts.



He added the state will provide local governments with guidelines for the program, such as giving priority to businesses with a longer track record and putting measures in place to guard against fraud.

The grant money could be a life raft for businesses that need to rearrange their business models to survive during the pandemic but don't have the funds to do so on their own, Schlegel said.

After allowing dine-in restaurants, gyms and other establishments to reopen in early June, the governor put a hold on additional openings originally scheduled for July 1 when the state saw a spike in its COVID-19 transmission rate.

Lujan Grisham then reinstated a prohibition on indoor dining service as well as requiring out-of-state visitors to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New Mexico.

Rob Black, president of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry, said a grant program could help businesses that are on the brink of bankruptcy.

"It's very welcome," Black said. "Doing a grant program would go a long way to helping some of those businesses that are right on the edge."

Earlier this month, Lujan Grisham signed legislation that will offer $400 million in low-interest loans to small businesses that have endured economic damage as a result of the pandemic.

Businesses likely will be able to start applying for those loans in August, Schlegel said.

As federal funds run low, Greater Des Moines Partnership awards small business grants - Des Moines Register

Posted: 16 Jul 2020 12:00 AM PDT

CLOSE

If you are a small business owner and have not yet applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan yet... According to Business Insider, you may be out of luck and too late to receive funding. The US government recently added a second round of $310 billion to PPP loan program. The goal is to fund small businesses that have been economically impacted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bankers, lawyers, and consultants told Business Insider that the volume of pre-approved loans will soak up the second round of funding. If you don't receive emergency government funding, it's suggested for small businesses to seek funding through tax relief, private companies, local governments, and organizations offering small business grants. Wochit

Correction: A previous version of this story said that East Village Spa was paying employees less since re-opening.

After receiving money from the latest local grant, East Village Spa owner Cassie Sampson said she can extend a "livable wage" to her employees for a little bit longer. 

With social distancing precautions and a drop in customers, the spa's massage therapists are working about half as much as they did before the coronavirus pandemic began. Sampson has used funds from the federal Paycheck Protection Program to supplement their lost revenue.

"This is a professional career," Sampson said. "People make a good living. But if you cut anyone's living in half, they're going to have a hard time paying rent, paying for food. It's just been really tough."

Sampson learned this week that she would receive $10,000 — the maximum possible amount — from the DSM Small Business Recovery Grant, a support initiative funded by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, local governments, private donors and some federal funding through the Community Development Block Grant program. The grant is the latest stopgap measure for local small business owners, who are still seeing fewer than half the customer traffic they were once used to.

The most aggressive form of support came from the Paycheck Protection Program, forgivable loans created by Congress. That money is supposed to keep employees on payrolls even if the business is operating with almost no revenue.

The program was designed to keep businesses afloat for two months, and many business owners say they don't have any funds left. Many states, including Iowa, lifted restrictions to allow businesses to open again in May. But as coronavirus cases rise again this summer, consumer spending has dropped again.

More: Economists warn of slowing recovery as new Iowa unemployment claims increase

More: Here are the Iowa businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program loans

Des Moines Economic Development Director Erin Olson-Douglas said the grant's architects didn't initially think of the funding as a small, second lifeline for businesses.

"Most of us didn't see this event as one that would go on as long as it has with no absolute clearing in sight," she said. "Yeah, it's absolutely our hope that these grants sustain our businesses through the coming months. I wish I could say we had that much foresight. We didn't. We hope it's good timing."

The Greater Des Moines Partnership on July 14 announced 140 grant recipients receiving a total of about $900,000. Olson-Douglas said grant administrators are reviewing applications for 25 other small businesses that may qualify for the funds but did not provide some required information in the application.

About 250 businesses applied for the grant. To be eligible, businesses needed to be in operation since at least July 1, 2019. They could not have more than 30 employees and had to be located in Carlisle, Clive, Des Moines, Indianola, Johnston, Norwalk, Urbandale, West Des Moines, Windsor Heights or in unincorporated areas of Polk or Warren counties.

The Iowa Center for Economic Success graded the applications based on the amount of revenue the business lost due to COVID and how successful the business had been before the pandemic. Grant administrators did not want to provide funding to businesses that would have likely failed even if the virus didn't happen, Olson-Douglas said.

Businesses located outside of Des Moines were eligible for grants of up to $5,000, while businesses inside the city could receive up to $10,000.

Of the businesses awarded grants so far, 35% are restaurants or bars, 20% are personal service companies and 15% are retailers.

The funding comes after the state provided about $85 million in grants to about 4,600 small businesses. The state also awarded $600,000 to 364 sole proprietors. 

At East Village Spa, Sampson said she has decreased the number of massage therapists who can work at a given time and moved manicure and pedicure stations into separate rooms, decreasing the number of services the spa could provide in a day.

Since July 4, as COVID-19 cases in Iowa have increased, Sampson said more customers are canceling appointments. Then there is the lack of travel: The spa usually sees a boost from out-of-town visitors looking for a massage while away from home. All told, she suspects traffic into the spa is about one-third its pre-pandemic rate.

Sampson's business received about $185,000 in Paycheck Protection Program funds in mid-May. She said she's lucky to still have some money available. She didn't hire the full staff back until the spa re-opened and is using the federal money to make up for employees' lost revenue from the dip in clients.

She plans to give the latest grant funds to employees as well. She is not sure how long the boosted payments can last.

"I can't predict what the (coronavirus) numbers will be in a week," she said. "Or how confident the community will be."

Restaurateur Todd Millang, who received two of the local grants on behalf of his downtown bars and restaurants, said he appreciates the money. Still, he struggled to be optimistic when asked how much of a difference it would make.

One of his restaurants, RoCA, received the maximum $10,000. He said that's about how much money the businesses lost each week in June.

RoCA also received $170,000 through the Paycheck Protection Program at the beginning of April, but the restaurant burned through the last of that money a month ago. Millang said RoCA suffered under the rules of the program at the time, which demanded that businesses spend 75% of the funds on employee salaries. 

Congress has since changed the rules to give businesses more flexibility. But it was too late for RoCA, which had used the money on workers who could have otherwise received unemployment while the state mandated that restaurants remain shuttered.

"We were required to hire back our staff to do nothing," Millang said.

Even as Gov. Kim Reynolds lifted restrictions, he said few people are coming back right now. RoCA's June revenue was about 30% of what it had been at the same time last year. 

At this point, Millang said he is talking with staff about whether they want to stay on board.

"I don't want to sound unappreciative," he said of the local grant. "They're doing it for a lot of groups. It's meaningful. But yeah, we're losing tens of thousands of dollars a month. So, we'll see."

Tyler Jett covers jobs and the economy for the Register. Contact him at 515-284-8215 and tjett@registermedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.

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