While things may be slowly returning to normal, many are still struggling with the long-term financial consequences of the full shut down in spring of this year. In an effort to help local businesses through their own struggles with COVID-19, the Carver County CDA has put together a new Small Business Emergency Assistance Program and is working with local chambers to keep in touch with the community.

“This program is related to the CARES Act funds that Congress gave to the state,” said Kyle Jarvis, president of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce in a presentation. “We’re very fortunate because cities and counties weren’t obligated to create these programs for their businesses. It’s great to see them giving back to the business owners.”

As part of the CARES Act passed in March, counties and cities around the state were given money to allocate for coronavirus relief. This meant they could choose to use the funding to purchase supplies for their area, or put them into relief funds. Carver County chose to give back directly, offering various programs to help families and businesses throughout their COVID-19 struggles.

The most recent one of these, the Small Business Emergency Assistance Program, is designed to help out the many small for profit businesses throughout Carver County. Businesses can receive up to $10,000 from the fund, so long as they meet the eligibility requirements.

Those requirement include being a locally owned, for-profit business with the building located in Carver County. This includes franchises, so corporate franchise owners can still apply as their franchise is their business. Small businesses are also defined as having 40 or less employees, and receiving less than $2million in revenue a year. The business would have also had to have been open since before January 1 of 2020, while following all regulations for their business and properly paying taxes. Finally, they will have to lost at least 10 percent in revenues to qualify for the SBEAP. For profit farms are also included if they meet these criteria.

Ineligibilities include not having a physical presence in the county, being a non-profit business (as there is a similar plan in the works for them coming soon), and being in default prior to March 1 of this year. Anything selling adult entertainment, including gambling, lobbying, billboard management, real estate transactions, and property management also do not qualify. Finally, any business whose main income is selling pawned items, guns, tobacco, and vaping products do not qualify.

Businesses who received funds through PPP and EIDL are still eligible, while those who received the state’s Small Business Emergency Loan or Small Business Relief Grant are not eligible for this particular program.

There are plenty of ways to use the funding from the SBEAP. Essential expenses, such as payroll, rent, mortgage, utilities, and supplies are ways that the funding can be used. Supplies can also include things like PPE and paying off reopening needs. Essentially, this program can help out quite a few people in whatever way they need in particular.

“You have from August 17 to September 4 to apply for the program,” said Jarvis. “If you live in Carver or Watertown, remember that DEED does not forward their information, so remember to apply on the county and local chamber websites.”

If the requests do not exceed the given funds, anyone who meets the criteria will receive a grant. Otherwise, receivers will be determined by a randomized selection process if the amount of requests exceed what’s available. All applicants need if approved are their W-2 documents and their tax documents from 2019.

“These don’t determine your eligibility for the program, and you can apply again if you mess up somewhere,” said Jarvis. “You could apply 500 times, and reviewers will only look at the most recent one.”

To apply for the Small Business Emergency Assistance Program, visit the CDA’s web page at carvercda.org to begin filling out an application. Remember that DEED doesn’t always forward the info, so be sure check the local chamber websites, watertownchamber.com and nyachamber.org.

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