Small business grant program helps 824 Louisville businesses

November 13, 2020

Through Louisville Forward’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, 824 small businesses have received grant dollars, totaling $27.1 million to help mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In total, 1,286 applications were received from small businesses since Louisville Forward began accepting grant applications on July 1.

“I am proud of the work that our Small Business Team has done to preserve the hundreds of small businesses that make Louisville unique,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “And I continue to urge Congress to return to the negotiating table and pass additional relief measures to aid our nation’s small businesses. It is clear that more assistance is needed as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and weather the resulting economic impacts.”

Because of the pandemic, overall revenue among small businesses in Louisville has declined 25.8 percent compared to January 2020, according to Opportunity Insights, a non-partisan research and policy institute based at Harvard University. Nationally, small business revenue has declined 23.2 percent.

Businesses seeking relief grants requested between $845 and $50,000; the average approved grant amount was $32,888. Businesses receiving the relief grant are located in every council district in Jefferson County. Of the grant dollars awarded, 28% percent went to minority-owned businesses, and 33.8 % percent went to women-owned businesses.

A volunteer Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Review Committee, composed of small business leaders from the community, held its last meeting to review and vote grant applications on November 12. Current federal regulations regarding the CARES dollars that fund the program require that all expenses paid for by the grant funds be incurred by December 30.

In this fiscal year’s budget approved by Metro Council in late June, $21 million in federal CARES dollars were appropriated to Louisville Forward for the creation of the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. In late September, Louisville Forward received an additional $6.1 million for the program. The additional funds were unspent federal CARES dollars carried forward from fiscal year 2020.

Learn more about the businesses that received funds through the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/approved-small-bu....

In addition to the grant program, two new low-interest loan programs were launched this year specifically targeted toward businesses impacted by COVID-19.

In mid-September, Louisville Forward launched the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Loan program, providing small businesses affected by the pandemic with low-interest 66-month loans of up to $50,000. Since then, the METCO Board has awarded nearly $1 million in loans to 23 small businesses from the $2.8 million revolving loan fund.

Shortly after the start of the pandemic, Louisville Forward worked with LHOME, Render Capital, Greater Louisville Inc., and Lenderfit to start the Small Business Continuity Loan Fund Program. LHOME, a Louisville-based community development financial institution, administered the program, which gave zero-interest loans of up to $25,000 to Louisville’s smallest businesses impacted by COVID-19.

LHOME has approved loans totaling $1.5 million to 68 local businesses.

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