Durham is offering more financial support for small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through a new grant program.
The City Council has authorized $240,000 of its CARES Act allocation to establish the new Durham CARES Small Business Grant Program, which will provide direct grants to established small businesses negatively impacted by the ongoing public health emergency caused by COVID-19. Guidance from the state and federal governments give the City of Durham the flexibility and opportunity to use these federal funds for grants.
Beginning Thursday, November 12, small businesses can apply for a grant of up to $10,000 at https://durhambusiness360.com to help them pay for necessary business expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency, including personal protective equipment, increased delivery fees, costs incurred to promote conducting outdoor business, and rent and utilities paid while operating at a decreased capacity or during closure.
The grant program is administered by the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, which is also working with business-support agencies and economic development partners to ensure outreach to the Durham business community. According to Andre Pettigrew, director of the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, these funds will complement other sources of funds now available to small businesses during the pandemic. “Improving local small businesses access to capital is an important component of the City’s strategy in response to COVID-19,” Pettigrew said. “Over $3 million in grants and loans have been made available to local Durham small businesses. The new Durham CARES Small Business Grant Program will now provide additional financial help to our local small businesses that continue to adapt their business operations in response to COVID-19.”
Eligible businesses must be physically located within Durham County; employ fewer than 50 full-time employees as of November 15, 2020; have been established and operational since at least November 12, 2019; be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; not currently engaged in bankruptcy proceedings or dissolution; show proof of expenses or invoices to be paid; have revenues of $2 million or less according to their latest tax filing; and not have previously received a grant or loan from the Durham Small Business Recovery Program. Additional eligibility criteria are listed on the website, such as for franchises; the full eligibility criteria will be listed in the application.
Grant funds may be used for legitimate business expenses, such as working capital, lease payments, existing real estate and equipment financing payments, and accessing and applying for federal resources related to capital and business resiliency. Funds may not be used to pay off debts that existed before March 1, 2020, tax liens, judgments, or collections.
Grant applications will be reviewed by City staff in the order they are received, and applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted. Grant awardees will begin being notified on November 30, with the funds released by mid-December 2020.
For more full program details visit www.durhambusiness360.com, or contact Senior Economic Development Coordinator Brian Smith with the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development at (919) 560-4965, ext. 15205 or by email.