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Mower begins round 2 of the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant program

Mower County will begin accepting applications for a second round of small business grants starting next week.

Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, Nov. 2, through 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.

Round one wrapped up on Oct. 22 with 109 small businesses receiving grants totaling $900,000. Round two will disburse the remaining funds.

This grant program is made possible by federal CARES Act funds allocated to local units of government, including townships, cities and counties, to assist with expenses resulting from response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economic relief to small businesses is an eligible use of these funds.

Mower County received $4.9 million dollars and assigned $1 million to this small business grant program. Additionally, Mower County provided $250,000 in non-profit grants, $270,000 in school grants, $75,000 in utility assistance, $20,000 in micro resiliency grants and $250,000 in special grants to individuals and families.

The City of Austin also contributed $200,000 to the small business grant program.

The program is designed to reimburse businesses for losses or additional expenses incurred as a result of the pandemic. The county and city are partnering with the Development Corporation of Austin to administer the program.

“I encourage all entities who may be eligible for these grants to apply,” said DCA board chair Shelley King. “Jobs we can save means more economic security for all of us during these challenging times.”

To qualify, businesses must be:

• Able to demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;

• Have expenses or losses that occurred between March 1 and Nov. 1, 2020;

• An employer of the equivalent of 50 or fewer full-time workers;

• A business that has a permanent physical location in Mower County;

• Majority-owned by a permanent resident of Mower County or an immediately adjacent county:

• Be in good standing as of March 1, 2020, with the Minnesota Secretary of State and Minnesota Department of Revenue; and

• In operation as of Jan. 1, 2020.

If the number of applications exceeds available funding, a ranked selection process will be used based on level of economic impact due to the executive orders.

Businesses that received the $10,000 Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) grant are not eligible. Also, any business that received grant funds in round 1 is not eligible. Applicants not selected in round 1 may re-apply.

For complete grant information, visit www.austindca.org/cares. For questions, call 507-433-9495 or email cares@austindca.org.