Less than a week after Volusia County launched a $10 million grant program to help small businesses recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, more than 1,700 businesses have already applied for the assistance.
And now, even more local businesses will be able to qualify for the county grant after the County Council decided Tuesday to expand the eligibility criteria. Initially, the program was designed to help those small businesses in Volusia County with up to 25 fulltime employees or the equivalent number of part-time employees, or fulltime equivalents (FTEs).
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Businesses With Up To 50 Employees Now Eligible
On Tuesday, the council agreed to open the grant to businesses with up to 50 fulltime employees or the equivalent number of part-time employees. Council members said those small businesses with slightly larger workforces need the help just as much.
“There are a large number of small businesses that have 35, 40, 50…..employees,” said Volusia County Chair Ed Kelley. “And they’re hurting as bad as the ones with 25 and under – or maybe even worse in some cases.”
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The county, which began accepting applications for the small business assistance grant program on May 14, is using coronavirus relief funds that it has received from the federal government as part of the CARES Act to fund the grants. To qualify, businesses must certify that they suffered a financial impact due to COVID-19 and that their net loss after insurance and other governmental assistance grants was greater than $3,000 for business with less than 25 or fewer FTEs and $5,000 if the business is between 26-50 FTEs. Qualifying impacts can be anything from a loss of revenue due to an interruption in business to the cost of installing things like plexiglass dividers, UV sanitizing cabinets and hand sanitizing stations needed to resume normal business operations.
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Businesses with up to 25 fulltime employees or the part-time equivalent that meet the eligibility criteria can qualify for a one-time grant of $3,000. With Tuesday’s expansion of the program, eligible businesses with between 26-50 fulltime employees or the part-time equivalent that meet the eligibility criteria can qualify for a one-time grant of $5,000. Council members said they would consider adding more money to the program if the initial $10 million is exhausted.
“We want to get the money in the street as soon as possible,” said council member Deb Denys.
For small businesses to qualify, they must be a physical business located in a commercial or industrial space, licensed to operate in Volusia County or the local city where they’re located if a license is required and were operational and actively conducting business in Volusia County on or before Dec. 1, 2019. Tax exempt businesses and businesses that are either a publicly traded company or a subsidiary of a publicly traded company don’t qualify for the program. The application along with a complete list of qualification criteria can be found on the county’s new Volusia Business Resources web site:
The application is filled out online and, on the average, takes about 30 minutes to complete.
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