The Dakota County Board approved a Small Business Relief Grant program to provide $10 million from the county’s allocation of federal CARES Act funds to assist small businesses that have suffered financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Farmington City Council approved to dedicate $500,000 to the SBRG program that will be administered by the county for Farmington business applicants. Dakota County and Farmington applicants can apply at www.dakotacda.org.

The city of Lakeville approved $484,694 in CARES Act funding for a program that it will administer. To apply in Lakeville, go online to lakevillemn.gov/1009/Small-Business-Emergency-Grant-Program.

Grants of up to $10,000 will help businesses cover payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills and other operational expenses since March 1, 2020.

“Small businesses are the threads that keep our communities connected and provide important jobs and resources for residents,” said Dakota County Board Chair Mike Slavik, who serves District 1 that includes Farmington. “Through this program, we hope to stabilize businesses hit hardest during temporary closures and business changes as a result of COVID-19.”

The county is partnering with the Dakota County Community Development Agency and program administrator NextStage to provide the small-business grants.

“I encourage all businesses who may be eligible for these grants to apply,” said County Board Member Chris Gerlach, who also serves as CDA board chair. “We know our businesses have suffered tremendously, and every job we can save means more economic security for all us during these challenging times.”

To qualify for the county and Farmington program, businesses must:

- Be able to demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Employ the equivalent of 50 or fewer full-time workers.

- Be a private for-profit business that has a permanent physical location in Dakota County.

- Be majority-owned by a permanent Minnesota resident.

- Be in good standing with the Minnesota Secretary of State and Minnesota Department of Revenue as of March 1, 2020.

- Be in good standing with Dakota County and the city where the business is located.

The Lakeville program has these additional restrictions:

- Must be a locally owned and operated for-profit business with a physical establishment in the city of Lakeville

- Must have at least one employee in addition to the owner as of March 1, 2020, and not more than 25 full-time equivalent employees, and under $1 million in annual revenue

- Must have been operating since December 1, 2019

- Must be licensed, in good standing, current on property taxes prior to July 15, 2020, if applicable

Due to the limited amount of funding and in order to serve as many businesses as possible, businesses will be ineligible to receive duplicative funds from the city of Lakeville Small Business Emergency Grant Program and state of Minnesota or Dakota County CDA Small Business Emergency Loan funds.

Businesses receiving federal relief funds are still eligible for the city of Lakeville Small Business Emergency Grant Program but must use city funds for other eligible expenses than those covered by federal funds.

Application forms will be accepted through Aug. 7, for the Lakeville program.

If applications exceed the funding available, city of Lakeville Community & Economic Development staff will select grant recipients using a first come, first served basis.

For questions about the Lakeville program, contact kbachmayer@lakevillemn.gov.

The application deadline for the county and Farmington programs is 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14.

If the number of applications exceeds available funding, a randomized selection process will be used.

A business that has applied for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development grant program should also apply to the Dakota County program in case they aren’t selected in the state process.

For questions about the county program, call 651-675-4481 or email smallbusiness@dakotacda.state.mn.us.

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