LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – The City of Lincoln is giving Lincoln businesses a hand up. They’re allocating $7 million of American Rescue Plan money to go toward grants for small businesses.
“Our Lincoln small businesses are still working hard to recover and have not yet made up for revenue losses related to the pandemic,” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. “These resources will help small businesses in Lincoln stabilize, grow, and thrive.”
Grants are available for small businesses in Lincoln with 50 or fewer employees that experienced revenue loss due to the pandemic. Small businesses may apply for up to $60,000 to pre-pay for up to six months of rent or mortgage payments. The grants do not have to be repaid.
Two of the businesses that could benefit is Buzzard Billy’s and The Starlite Lounge. Steve Engel, managing partner for the bar and restaurant, said this money will go a long way for businesses like his.
“For us, we had to pay rent on all of those months that we were closed,” Engel said. “We were taking losses on all of those months while also paying employees. This will help us make up for those losses we sustained in 2020.”
Lancaster County Commissioner Sean Flowerday said this is an important cause.
“We know that by supporting small business, we keep our dollars here, adding to local employment and business-to-business purchases,” Flowerday said. “In fact, initial analysis of the program predicts that for every $1 dedicated to small businesses, our community will gain $1.75 in economic impact.”
To help spread the word about the program, the city is partnering with community leaders, like Sheila Dorsey Finch with the Asian Community and Cultural Center who said she saw minority and female owned businesses struggle through the pandemic and she wants to make sure the get this help now.
“We can make sure people who may not be clued into these announcements knows about them and have assistance in applying for the funds,” Dorsey Finch said.
Grant awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Funds are available from the American Rescue Plan and small businesses must meet federal requirements. Over the next two weeks, the City will provide details to local small businesses about how to apply for the grants. A free webinar about the program is scheduled for 10 a.m., October 8. The opening date to apply online is Oct. 18. Information about the webinar and program is available at lincoln.ne.gov/ARP.
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