Oklahoma County relief program reports resultsPublished: Wednesday, December 16, 2020 By: Cathy O'Connor Source: The Journal Record
The Oklahoma County Small Business and Nonprofit Grants reported preliminary results of its funding, totaling nearly $14.7 million.
The goals of the program were to help businesses and nonprofits in Oklahoma County, but not in Oklahoma City, meet basic expenses and maintain payroll during COVID-19. The program provided grants of up to $100,000 to cover lost revenues and pay for wages for workers, rent, sanitizing equipment, fixtures to aid social distancing and other operational expenses.
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 to keep more sales tax revenue in the local economy. The program funded businesses and nonprofits with 100 or fewer employees and was launched 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.
The relief program launched Nov. 23 and within a few days had received applications with requests that far exceeded the total fund amount. The program closed to new applications on Nov. 28. The program funded 268 businesses and nonprofits for a total of $14,691,818. The average award was just under $55,000.
This relief program was designed to get help into the hands of locally owned businesses and nonprofits in order to preserve jobs in Oklahoma County. This was a critical time for businesses in our community and the Oklahoma County commissioners responded quickly to help stabilize these businesses and nonprofits. We anticipate in the coming weeks and months that we’ll hear from the grant recipients about the number of jobs that were preserved because of this emergency aid.
The grants were possible through $15 million in CARES Act funding, allocated by our Oklahoma County commissioners and administered by the Oklahoma Industries Authority. 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.
Cathy O’Connor is president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.
This story originally ran on the JournalRecord.com.