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Small Businesses in Need of Emergency Funding Can Now Register for Back-to-Business Grants

Post Date:05/12/2020 4:17 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 12, 2020

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The city of Clearwater has identified up to $4 million to provide emergency relief funds for small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small businesses in need of emergency funding can now register and pre-qualify online for the Clearwater Back-to-Business Grant and Professional Services Program ahead of a random selection process of businesses that will be invited to complete a grant application.

The Back-to-Business Program is intended to support both brick-and-mortar and home-based businesses. Several grant options are being offered to qualified businesses to help offset revenue losses, assist in retaining and paying employees, and preparation for recovery post-pandemic:

Brick-and-mortar businesses occupying a commercial space are eligible for:  

  • $3,000 “quick pay” grants to be used for business expenses, including, but not limited to commercial rent or mortgage and/or utilities, vendor payments, and employee wages.
  • Access to and payment of certain professional services such as business counseling, accounting, legal, marketing, and web design. Services will be funded in an amount not to exceed $1,000 per qualifying applicant.
  • $2,000 grants upon completion of professional services obligations.

Home-based businesses are eligible for: 

  • Access to and payment of certain professional services (see above), which will be funded in an amount not to exceed $1,000 per qualifying applicant.
  • Grants equal to one month’s revenue, not to exceed $2,000, as evidenced by appropriate financial records.
  • Funding for home-based businesses is provided by federal source. Income restrictions apply.

Prospective applicants must adhere to the following timeline to participate in the random selection and application completion process: 

  • Registration and pre-qualification applications for the program must be completed by May 17, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. to be eligible for the random selection process. There is no advantage based on the order applications are received in this step of the process.
  • On May 18, the random selection will take place for brick-and-mortar and home-based businesses, and a waiting list will be created for those not selected. All who submitted during the registration and pre-qualification period will have equal opportunity in the randomized selection.
  • Applicants who are selected will then have until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 31 to complete an application. Applications will be processed on a first-completed, first-served basis.

In March, in partnership with AMPLIFY Clearwater, the city launched a business impact survey to address issues and concerns held by the local business community. The city also participated in several community listening sessions and gained valuable insight into how best to support Clearwater businesses.

“Listening to the community was very important to the city and the first step we took in order to devise an economic recovery strategy,” said Denise Sanderson, Economic Development and Housing Department Director. “As a result, we created the Back-to-Business Program that will help our small business community thrive once again.”

This program is limited to businesses with a commercial or home-based location in incorporated Clearwater. Funds will be distributed until they are exhausted or until Dec. 31, 2020, whichever occurs first. Regardless of whether a business is eligible for this program, it may still qualify for other existing federal, state or county funding programs assisting businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit myclearwater.com/Back2Biz for program guidelines, qualifications, a preview of online applications, and frequently asked questions. Applications will only be accepted online.

For more information, contact Denise Sanderson, Director of Economic Development & Housing at (727) 562-4033 or denise.sanderson@myclearwater.com ###

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