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EDA provides more small business grants

The Economic Development Authority will soon announce the businesses that will receive grants as part of the second round of its COVID-19 small business assistance grant program.

Last month, the EDA opened up another round of grant applications, “driven and fueled by a $200,000 grant from the Obici Healthcare Foundation,” according to EDA director Kevin Hughes.

He said there have been more than 110 applicants for the grant, and noting the strong interest in the program, the EDA received another $500,000 from City Council from CARES Act funding.

Hughes said he asked the EDA’s board of commissioners to create a supplemental account to provide as many $5,000 grants as possible.

He said 57 applications will qualify for the grant, and another 40-plus over the next several days to work through those.

Council will get a briefing on the grants at its Oct. 21 meeting, when Hughes said he anticipates providing a breakdown of the companies that will receive the grant.

The EDA has opened up a third round for grant applications in October. They will be open to small businesses in the city, both brick-and-mortar and home-based, and must have been operating since at least Sept. 1, 2020. Applications are due back to the EDA by Oct. 31. More information about the program can be found on the YesSuffolk website in its COVID-19 Resources (https://www.yessuffolk.com/188/COVID-19-Resources).

Home-based businesses can only get grants for pandemic-related supplies, Hughes said.

“We didn’t know how to differentiate between your home mortgage versus rent for your home,” Hughes said.

For city brick-and-mortar businesses to qualify for a grant, they must have experienced losses in operating hours, revenue, reductions in staffing and/or have additional expenses because of COVID-19 safety measures resulting from the temporary restrictions on restaurants, recreational, entertainment, gatherings and non-essential retail. Businesses seeking the grant also must have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.

During the EDA’s June distribution, 85 businesses received nearly $200,000 in COVID-19 small business grants, with amounts of $3,700 for 15 businesses, $2,700 for 27 businesses, $1,700 for 32 businesses and $700 for 11 businesses.

The EDA first approved the new small business grant program in June.