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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Olmsted County businesses and non-profits that have been financially affected by the pandemic are being reminded of a local grant program that begins this week.

The Olmsted County Board of Commissioners announced Tuesday it is allocating funds to COVID-19 related small business relief as part of a state program.

The county says nearly $3.4-million will be distributed next month.

  • $2,711,174 grant program for small businesses and food/beverage-serving 501(c)(8) and 501(c)(19) non-profits, administered by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI).
  • $677,794 grant program for 501(c)(3) non-profits administered by the Rochester Area Foundation.

Grants up to $25,000 will be available to qualified businesses. Applications will be accepted by the RAEDI organization between noon Friday, Jan. 22 and Jan 31.

In summary:

  • Grants up to $25,000 will be awarded to small businesses owned and operated in Olmsted County that have been impacted by executive order and can demonstrate financial hardship, related to the COVID-19 outbreak, specifically a 25% or greater decrease in revenue. Grants will be based on up to 50% of lost revenue from October 1 to December 31, 2020, up to a maximum of $25,000, depending on eligibility.
  • Grant funds shall be used to cover business expenses since October 2020, including but not limited to payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other expenses in the regular course of business.
  • These are grants and no repayment will be required; they are not loans

To qualify, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a for-profit business OR food/beverage-serving 501(c)(8) or 501(c)(19) non-profit that has a permanent physical location in Olmsted County or tribal land in the county.
  • Be in operation with appropriate filings with the Secretary of State before March 15, 2020.
  • Be majority-owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota.
  • Be in good standing with the Minnesota Secretary of State with no outstanding liens at the time of application.
  • Be in compliance with all State of Minnesota Executive Orders at the time of application.
  • Be current on property taxes (if applicable) for 2019 and all years prior, as of May 15, 2020.
  • Employ fewer than 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.
  • Businesses owned by tribal governments that have voluntarily complied with Executive Order No. 20-99 are eligible.
  • Be able to demonstrate financial hardship because of the COVID-19 outbreak, specifically a 25% decrease in revenue or greater, AND a $1,800 decrease in revenue or greater.

Priority will be given to businesses:

  • Businesses closed* by Governor Walz's Executive Order (20-99) on November 18, 2020, including but not limited to restaurants, bars, fitness centers, and events and entertainment venues. *Closed is defined as "closed to ingress, egress, use, and occupancy by members of the public;"
  • Businesses that are majority-owned by military veterans, women, and ethnic or racial minorities;
  • Businesses that have not received aid from prior Olmsted County Small Business Relief Grant programs;
  • Businesses that have not received a grant from the Minnesota Department of Revenue; and/or,
  • Owners with multiple businesses who have not received aid from prior Olmsted County Small Business Relief Grant programs.

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