The Franklin County Commissioners voted to pass a series of resolutions that will provide more than $2 million in grants and loans to small businesses in Franklin County that are struggling in the depressed economy. The funding is provided from among several sources, the federal CARES Act, Community Development Block Grant funding, and through a contribution from JPMorgan Chase.
“Smaller businesses are the engine that drives our economy, but many of them are struggling with the shutdown and the new pandemic economy,” said John O’Grady, commission president. “We aim to help them get through this tough time because our community needs them to come back strong when the economy picks up again.”
The new initiative is to target low-to moderate-income small business owners who were not able to secure funding through other programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program, and the commissioners expect to be able to assist at least 200 small businesses in this way. Some of the grants are aimed specifically at helping businesses acquire the new safety equipment and protective gear they may need to reopen safely, and can be used to reimburse the business for such purchases already made.
“As much as we need these businesses to come back, we also need them to do it in a way that is safe for employees and customers,” said commissioner Marilyn Brown. “This only works if people know that they can work and shop safely, and most businesses can’t afford to be shut down for a second time.”
JPMorgan Chase partnered with the commissioners to add an additional $250,000 to the revolving loan fund at ECDI (Economic and Community Development Institute) to which the commissioners made a $500,000 initial investment in March.
“As our economy begins to pick up steam again, there will be tremendous opportunities for growth,” said commissioner Kevin Boyce. “Many small companies won’t have the capital they need to take advantage of those opportunities, and it’s just another way that it’s hard for them to compete. With these investments, loans, and grants, we hope to be able to put them on a little more even footing with their larger competitors.”
For more information about the program and where to apply, visit email@example.com.