New grants help central Oklahoma economyPublished: Wednesday, November 25, 2020 By: Cathy O'Connor Source: The Journal Record
Oklahoma County Small Business and Nonprofit Grants opened Monday with an enthusiastic response from businesses and nonprofits across central Oklahoma. The goal of the program is to quickly put funding into the hands of small business owners and nonprofits to provide stabilization and help retain jobs in central Oklahoma. The grants are possible through $15 million in CARES Act funding, allocated by our Oklahoma County commissioners and administered by the Oklahoma Industries Authority.
Small businesses are some of the hardest hit by COVID-19; they’re also key to our economy. Small businesses provide more than half of the jobs that employ Oklahomans and help keep more sales tax revenue in the local economy. The program comes at an important time for our community. The recovery of our small businesses and nonprofits in Oklahoma County impacts the entire state; commerce doesn’t end at city borders and a thriving economy in one area impacts the entire, interdependent region.
Grants will provide up to $100,000 for either lost revenue due to COVID-19 or reimbursement of payroll, rent, utility and other operational expenses.
To qualify, the business or nonprofit must have 100 or fewer employees, have been established since Feb. 15, be able to demonstrate a negative impact of COVID-19 and have a physical location within Oklahoma County, but not within the city of Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City businesses and nonprofits are not eligible because the program assists qualifying applicants with sustainability needs not met through other means including previous business grants, loans or technical assistance programs administered by the city of Oklahoma City, state of Oklahoma or U.S. federal government. To identify the qualified coverage area, see a map of Oklahoma County.
Applications opened Nov. 23 and will close Dec. 7 or when funding is exhausted. Grants will be awarded to fully completed applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants are encouraged to submit complete applications to be eligible.
The Oklahoma County Small Business and Nonprofit Grants program is the first COVID-19 aid package directly from Oklahoma County government to local businesses. I commend our county commissioners for their decision to help small businesses and nonprofits.
Business owners and nonprofits may apply and find more information at www.OKCountyGrants.org.
Cathy O’Connor is president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.
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