Summit County announces COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant Program

Summit County announces COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant Program
File photo. (Source: The Associated Press)

SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro introduced, and Summit County Council passed, emergency legislation authorizing the creation of a COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program.

The program will be administered by the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce and grants will be available to Summit County small businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of Summit County. While we must take the difficult but necessary precautions to fight this virus, we will also fight to make sure these businesses survive,” said Executive Shapiro in a released statement. “Our hope is that the grants offered through this program will allow us to quickly get help to our local businesses and when coupled with state and federal initiatives, will provide the resources our small businesses need to make it through these difficult times.

The program will provide $5,000 grants to eligible small businesses. To be eligible, a small business must be a for-profit enterprise with its principal place of business located in Summit County. The business must employ a minimum of three and a maximum of twenty-five individuals for at least twenty hours per week.

Additionally, at least 50% of the employees must be residents of Summit County. Businesses must demonstrate a financial need and desire to continue operations by applying for a U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic and/or another SBA loan program established to support small businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses approved for an SBA loan and who also meet the county’s program guidelines will be automatically approved. Businesses who are denied an SBA loan may still be approved for a grant following a review by the program’s Grant Underwriting Team. The program will conclude on December 31, 2020, or earlier if all available funds have been dispersed.

Summit County will contribute $750,000 to establish the program. The county is also encouraging our local communities, businesses, non-profits, and individuals to contribute to the program with the hope of providing more than $1 million in small business assistance.

To that end, the City of Akron and JumpStart have each offered to commit $100,000 to the program and will assist with promotion to businesses in the Summit County community.

“The commitment of the Executive and Summit County Council, as well as the financial support of the City of Akron and JumpStart, is an additional resource to help give local small businesses a fighting chance at this critical time. This program demonstrates local government’s commitment to local business success as we all navigate this new landscape,” said Steve Millard, President, and CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce in a released statement.

For more information or to apply for a grant, please contact Gregg Cramer at the Greater Akron Chamber at (330) 237-1213 or gcramer@greaterakronchamber.org.

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