Carroll County Helping Local Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
6 May 2020
As local businesses struggle to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis, communities within Carroll County have actively sought options to provide them relief. Several cities have provided grants and emergency loans to small businesses within their jurisdiction as a means to get funding to the businesses, knowing competition for state and federal funding may be very high.
“Communities that are able to realize their need and find creative, local solutions are communities that are strong for the long term,” said Shannon Landauer, Carroll Area Development Corporation Executive Director. “When faced with adversity, several Carroll County communities looked within to find the support mechanisms needed to provide support to local businesses, organizations and residents.”
The city of Carroll recently chose to provide $100,000 in grants to local small businesses experiencing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. Knowing of coming state and federal assistance programs, the city determined that funding at the local level was important to deploy resources to local businesses quickly to serve as a bridge until other funding mechanisms became available. Eligibility for the grants, funded from the Local Option Sales Tax, included a business must be located in Carroll and have 25 or fewer employees. Applications were taken for one week before an independent committee reviewed all applications to determine which ones would receive funding. Out of 120 applications received, 74 businesses were awarded grants.
The city of Manning acted quickly to make their city-administered revolving loan funds available to the current hurdles facing local businesses.
“Not only did we offer a three-month deferment for existing loan holders, we also shifted some funds to an emergency loan program that had a simplified application period and a quick turn-around,” said Dawn Meyer, Manning City Clerk. “The emergency loans range from $2,000 to $10,000 with no interest or payments for the first year and a four-year repayment after that
States across the nation are trying to provide relief to small businesses as well. As part of the Iowa Small Business Relief Program, 31 Carroll County businesses were awarded grants ranging in value from $5,000 to $25,000. County businesses received grants totaling $571,000 as of May 4, part of over $56 million awarded to businesses throughout the state. The review and approval of these applications is ongoing with additional recipients to be listed at https://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/businessrecovery.
The grants were intended to maintain businesses or allow them to reopen following the pandemic, but not to pay debts prior to March 17. Priority was given to applications projecting income losses of at least 75 percent and first to possibly close and only businesses with between 2 and 25 employees were eligible.
Federal funding has recently been in flux due to high demand for projects like the Paycheck Protection Plan and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans. As of April 16, the Paycheck Protection Program accepted 29,424 loans totaling over $4.3 million. The U.S. Small Business Administration has stopped accepting applications for many of the COVID-19 response programs. But the U.S. Congress appears to have come to agreement on providing additional funding.
There are other federal programs small business owners can turn to. One example is the Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program, which allows those with an existing relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
Whether seeking grants as federal, state or local levels, businesses should keep in touch with their local economic business development experts to be kept abreast of current financing conditions.
“Consulting with individuals like Kimberly Tiefenthaler, the North Central Iowa Regional Director of the Small Business Development Center is recommended to determine which program is right for businesses for the long term,” said Landauer. “Available programs from the CARES Act, such as Economic Injury Disaster Loans, Paycheck Protection Plan, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and others yet to be announced can put the right tools to work for each business.”