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Welcome to the Washington County Business Assistance Grant.  The following guidelines outline the eligibility rules of the grant program.

Prioritization

Washington County has determined that first priority for grant funding shall go to those businesses most directly impacted by Executive Order (EO) No. 20-99 such as restaurants, bars, gyms, and other similar businesses who have been partially or fully closed as a result of EO 20-99.  Applicants that fall into these categories will be reviewed and contacted in January.

If you are not in the first funding priority, your application will be on the waitlist and we will contact you if your application is under review.

If funding remains available, next priority eligible applicants will include businesses that have been directly or indirectly impacted by any executive orders issued to address the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, and certain non-profit businesses impacted by the pandemic.  Applicants that fall into these categories will be contacted by February 12th.

Grants for home-based businesses will only be made if funds remain after fully funding the higher priority applications referenced above.

Eligibility

General Requirements

-  Businesses/applicant must have a physical location in Washington County.

-  Business/applicant must be in good standing with MN Secretary of State Department as of the time of application (no tax liens on record have been filed).

· Business/applicant must have been impacted, directly or indirectly, by an executive order related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

· Business/applicant must have been in operation on or before November 1, 2020.

· Businesses who received Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act assistance, including county small business grants, or state business grants, are eligible for this program, but must apply again to receive funds.

· Convention centers and movie theatres who receive grants directly from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) are not eligible for this grant program.

· Ineligible businesses/applicants include corporate owned chains or businesses that primarily derive income from: gambling, adult entertainment, pawned merchandise, guns, passive investments, real estate transactions, billboards, or lobbying. Locally owned corporate franchise businesses are eligible.

For-profit business grants

· Eligible business/applicant must have 75 or less full-time equivalent employees and generated $5 million in annual revenue or less during calendar year 2019.

· First priority, will be given to restaurants, bars, gyms, and other similar businesses who have been partially or fully closed as a result of EO 20-99, Section 7. Eligible applications from the first group will be awarded as they are received. This includes bars and restaurants operated by a non-profit, such as VFW Posts or American Legions, that had to cease operations due to EO 20-99.

· Businesses who have been directly or indirectly impacted by executive orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible. These businesses must certify that they have incurred costs related to the pandemic and have suffered a loss in revenue. Businesses indirectly impacted by executive orders is defined as a business that derives income from sales of goods or services to businesses that were fully or partially closed by an executive order.

Non-profit organizations

The following non-profit organizations are eligible for grants under this program:

- Non-profit organizations, such as but not limited to arts organizations, museums, and fitness centers, that earn revenue similar to businesses, including but not limited to ticket sales and memberships fees.

- Non-profit organizations that provide social and community services, such as mental health services, housing, services for individuals with disabilities, food support, and other human service or safety net services closely related to those provided by counties.

- Non-profit organizations that provide direct services to veterans.

· Eligible non-profits must be physically located in the county and have 75 or less full-time equivalent employees and generate $5 million or less in annual revenue.

· If grant requests in total exceed the amount of funding available, total grants provided to non-profit organizations shall not exceed $750,000.

Home-based businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs

· Home-based businesses (with employees or no employees) or self-employed entrepreneurs that have no employees that have a physical location for their business in Washington County other than their personal residence, are eligible for grants. These businesses must certify that they have incurred costs related to the pandemic and have suffered a loss in revenue, in addition to certifying they have been impacted by an executive order related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants for home-based businesses will only be made if funds remain after fully funding the higher priority applications referenced above.

Award Amount

· All grants must be awarded and checks mailed by March 15, 2021. Once a business meets the eligibility criteria, their grant award amount will be based on the following tiers:

- Up to $15,000 for for-profit and non-profit restaurants and bars impacted by EO-99.

- Up to $15,000 for other for-profit businesses impacted, either directly or indirectly, by an executive order related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

-  Up to $10,000 for eligible non-profit business impacted by an executive order related to the COVID-19 pandemic as defined under the eligibility requirements.

- Up to $7,500 for Home-based or non-employer small businesses/sole proprietors.

Use of Funds

· Funds must be used for business operating expenses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those expense may include payroll expenses, rent payments, mortgage payments, payments to suppliers, insurance, utility expenses or other critical business expenses (including expenses related to closing and/or reopening). Washington County funds may NOT be used for the same expenses or activities that were paid with other sources of grant or COVID relief funds.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.