On Aug. 17, Bedford County launched a Back-to-Business Grant to help Bedford County businesses that have experienced losses from COVID-19 closures.

The grants are $5,000 each and provided to eligible small, brick and mortar, businesses on a first-come, first-served basis through Sept. 18 or until funds are depleted.

The program is funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and has been authorized by the Bedford County Board of Supervisors during its board meeting on Aug. 10. The $5,000 grants will support small business recovery and economic growth.

To be eligible for the grant, a business must:

• Be a “for-profit business” with 100 or fewer employees as of Jan. 1 and be a place of business located in Bedford County; or be a 501c(6) organization, such as a chamber of commerce specifically focused on economic development, tourism and/or workforce development, as well as currently supporting businesses in Bedford County.

• Have been in business for a minimum of 1 full year prior to COVID-19 (March 1, 2020) and current on county taxes.

• Have annual gross revenues of $50,000 - $3 million.

• Be able to show at least a 20 percent loss in revenue due to COVID-19 impacts since March 1 as compared to 2019 revenues.

• Disclose any other CARES Act funds received, such as PPP.

Franchises must be headquartered in Bedford County to be eligible. If they have more than one location, they are only eligible for one Back-to-Business grant.

Funds are meant to assist businesses for the costs of business interruption and/or reductions due to COVID-19.

The grant can be used for:

• Employee compensation (including wages and benefits).

• Working capital.

• Equipment inventory.

• Rent or mortgage.

• Other business-critical operating expenses such as utilities and insurance and protective equipment.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate that they are eligible, that they were operational pre-COVID-19, and that they are suffering negative impacts from COVID-19 closures and disruptions.

Eligibility is limited to provide the assistance to those most in need due to COVID-19 adverse affects.

Those not eligible include:

• Businesses or franchises not headquartered in Bedford County — only exception is 501c(6) organizations as defined in criteria above.

• Businesses in the Town of Bedford that already received a $5,000 grant for COVID-19 relief.

• Independent contractors operating multi-level or network marketing businesses (such as Avon, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc.)

• Independent contractors (1099’ers) working on gig platforms (such as Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, etc.)

• Home-based businesses with no employees.

• Non-profit organizations, except for 501c(6) organizations as described above.

• Businesses engaged in speculation or investment in rental real estate.

• Businesses determined to be Ineligible Businesses under SBA guidelines.

Requirements and needed documentation are provided on the Bedford County website.

Questions may be directed to Traci Blido, Bedford County Economic Development director, at (540) 587-5670 or tblido@bedfordcountyva.gov.

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