Bedford County’s Back to Business Grant Program to assist Bedford County businesses that have experienced losses from COVID-19 closures and disruptions involves $1 million.
The Bedford County Office of Economic Development launched the $1 million program on Monday, Aug. 17. Each grant to eligible small businesses is $5,000 and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis until Sept. 18 or until the funds are depleted.
The program, which is intended to support economic recovery in the county, is funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief,and Economic Security (CARES) Act and has been endorsed by the Bedford County Economic Development Authority and authorized by the Bedford County Board of Supervisors at its Aug. 10 board meeting.
Applicants must certify that any grant awarded will be used on eligible expenses in compliance with state and federal law. Examples of eligible expenses include but are not limited to employee compensation (including wages and benefits), working capital, equipment inventory, rent or mortgage, and other business-critical expenses such as utilities, insurance or protective equipment.
“The impact of this pandemic has been especially hard on our small business community such as those that rely on walk-in traffic and events for revenues,” said Traci Blido, economic development director. “Some of our smaller manufacturers also experienced unprecedented disruptions to product sales or the supply chain for their operations, so we hope this grant will help offset some of those impacts, too.”
The Back to Business grant program may assist up to 200 small businesses that call Bedford County home. The Office of Economic Development will work closely with the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce and the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce to communicate the grant program across a diverse business base in Bedford County.
The grant program also will allow local chamber organizations to apply for the grant since they have been impacted as well, all while continuing to support and advocate for Bedford County businesses throughout the COVID-19 business closures and stay-at-home orders.
The Bedford County Back to Business Grant program requirements are:
• Be a “for-profit business” located in Bedford County; or be a 501c(6) organization, such as a chamber of commerce, focused on economic development, tourism, and/or workforce development, and currently supporting for-profit businesses in Bedford County.
• Haven’t already received a Town of Bedford $5,000 grant this year.
• Been in business for a minimum of 1 year prior to COVID-19 (March 1).
• Have 100 or fewer employees as of Jan. 1.
• Be current on Bedford County taxes as of March 1.
• Demonstrate 2019 gross revenues of at least $50,000, but not more than $3 million.
• Demonstrate at least a 20 percent loss in revenue since March 1 due to negative impacts from closures or disruptions, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
• Disclose any other CARES Act funds received, such as Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) and if awarded this grant, must certify not to use these funds for same items the PPP covered.
An online portal for the application is available until Sept. 18 or until the funds are depleted. Some exclusions apply, and those businesses that received other CARES Act funds, such as PPP, will be weighted to first prioritize those not already assisted.
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