County, chamber select small business grant recipients

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Mosby's Popcorn in downtown Grand Rapids is one of 1,318 businesses to be approved as first-round grant recipients through the Kent County Small Business Recovery Program. Photo by Teri Genovese

Kent County and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday that they selected 1,318 local businesses as first-round grant recipients through the Kent County Small Business Recovery Program.

The county and chamber said the program received 2,112 applications, and 1,318 entities qualified for short-term economic relief grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

In June, the Kent County Board of Commissioners approved a plan to disperse $25 million in federal CARES Act dollars to small businesses in the form of grants and technical assistance. The board also recommended the Grand Rapids Chamber as the organization to administer the program.

“Our small businesses are struggling through no fault of their own as a result of the pandemic,” Kent County Board of Commissioner Chair Mandy Bolter said. “We worked quickly to get aid into their hands to help keep the economy moving and protect the jobs of our friends, families and neighbors. While we have more work to do, I’m thankful for the efforts of my fellow commissioners, business groups, community members and county staff who successfully implemented the first round of grants.”

To date, 721 grant checks totaling $5.9 million have been mailed to small businesses throughout Kent County. Another $4.4 million will be distributed to 597 businesses as soon as the required paperwork is complete.

A full list of grant recipients is available at grandrapids.org and will be updated regularly.

The list of 1,318 awardees is comprised of 36.6% white/Caucasian, 12.9% Hispanic/Latino, 21.4% African American/Black, 13.3% Asian, 1.4% Middle Eastern, 8% multiracial and 0.2% Native American businesses, while 6.3% of applicants did not indicate their racial or ethnic classification.

“Our team at the Grand Rapids Chamber has worked purposefully to provide assistance to applicants to ensure business owners have a smooth application process,” said Dante Villarreal, vice president of business and talent development at the chamber. “The need for this relief is critical, and we are working to ensure this funding is allocated quickly and efficiently.”

Grant funding still is available for businesses that have suffered lost business and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses are encouraged to apply here, and the chamber staff is available to provide technical assistance, including cost-cutting measures, six-month cash flow projection, analysis with a business consultant, creditor recommendation review and connections to other resources.

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