Small business grant program receives additional $6.4 million

September 28, 2020

Louisville Forward has received an additional $6.4 million to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19 through its Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.

The additional funds are unspent federal CARES dollars being carried forward from fiscal year 2020 into fiscal year 2021. Per current federal regulation, all CARES dollars must be spent by December 30, 2020.

"Louisville's small businesses make up the fabric of our community and employ thousands of Louisvillians. By helping sustain them through this pandemic, we are preserving part of who we are as a city,” said Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, chief of Louisville Forward.

Because of the pandemic, overall revenue among small businesses in Louisville has declined nearly 20 percent, according to Opportunity Insights, a non-partisan research and policy institute based at Harvard University.

“When talking to small business owners in Louisville, it is clear that the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program has been a lifeline for many of them as they continue to feel the financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to receive the additional funding to help even more small businesses,” said Economic Development Director Rebecca Fleischaker. “I also want to thank our Small Business Team and Review Committee members for all of their hard work as we have moved quickly to get aid to businesses in need.”

As of today, Louisville Forward has helped 560 businesses affected by the global pandemic. Of the initial $21 million, $19.7 million has been granted, and of those grant dollars allocated, 26.7 percent has gone to minority-owned businesses, and 35.7 percent has been awarded to women-owned businesses.

There are already applications in the pipeline ready to be reviewed and voted on by the program’s six-person Review Committee. Without the new allocation, those applications totaling $1.18 million in requested funds would not have been able to receive funding through the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. Even more applications are awaiting additional information or documentation.

Since its launch on July 1, 1,090 applications have been submitted by small businesses.

Businesses can use the funds to cover payroll, utilities, lease or mortgage payments, and fixed costs, such as interest on debt service and business insurance. Businesses without existing online platforms may also use grant dollars to support the implementation of new technology to allow for online sales.

Louisville Forward’s Small Business Team is administering the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, and all grant applications are reviewed and voted on by the Review Committee during meetings streamed live on Develop Louisville’s Facebook page each Thursday at 2 p.m.

For more information about the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/small-business-co....

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