Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, City Council President Shannon Hardin and JPMorgan Chase today announced the Columbus COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund, a loan and grant program created to help small businesses in Columbus get through the challenges of COVID-19. The City of Columbus will use $5.5 million received through its federal CARES Act allocation to capitalize the initiative, and JPMorgan Chase will contribute $250,000 to assist in providing technical assistance to small businesses in support of the City’s efforts.
“Our small businesses have suffered greatly during our fight to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor Ginther. “It is essential that small businesses are part of our economic recovery, and these grants and loans will help them stabilize and grow.”
In establishing this Fund, the City is building on the recommendations, strategies, framework and collaborations detailed in the Columbus Small Business Agenda – a strategic initiative launched in 2019. The Fund provides financial assistance to small businesses through grants in low and moderate income (LMI) areas of the City (map is attached) in three ways: Recovery Grants, Small Business Return Safely Grants and Pivot Loans. All are to help sustain existing business operations and aid in job retention. The Fund is being launched in partnership with Rev1 Ventures, Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), Next Street and a coalition of small business and entrepreneur support organizations.
Applicants can apply for up to $10,000 in Recovery Grants to help sustain their businesses through the COVID-19 Pandemic. These grants can be used to help small businesses maintain existing business operations and retain jobs.
The City will also provide assistance up to $5,000 in Return Safely Grants for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and facility improvements. These funds are intended to assist small businesses to secure PPEs and/or make necessary COVID-19 improvements required to re-open their businesses safely and responsibly.
The Pivot Loans provide small businesses with access to low-interest loans. The goal is to maintain existing business operations, while retaining existing jobs, creating new jobs or making capital investments due to unexpected market growth. Applicants are eligible to receive a loan amount up to $20,000.
“The City of Columbus and partners are stepping up to lend a helping hand so folks can make it to the other side of the COVID recession,” said Council President Shannon Hardin. “The design of these grant and loan funds is intentional to reach businesses that may not have been able to access larger programs. We’ll measure, track and improve these funds to ensure these dollars are truly serving this community.”
JPMorgan Chase is providing funding to support technical assistance to small businesses along with technological support through the deployment of a streamlined online application process.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our city’s economy, and they have been profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Corrine Burger, Columbus Location Leader for JPMorgan Chase. “JPMorgan Chase has a standing commitment to support the customers, employees and communities across our region, particularly the most vulnerable, in times of need. Collaboration between government, business and community partners will be critical to ensuring that business owners and entrepreneurs have access to the resources and on-going support they need for a more inclusive economic recovery. We are happy to partner with the City of Columbus and its partners in this important effort.”
The Columbus COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund will open on June 9, 2020 at 5 p.m. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until July 17, 2020 at 5 p.m. Information on how to apply will be available on June 8 at: www.columbus.gov/development/Economic-Development/Small-Business. For more information, contact the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneur Development of the City of Columbus at 614-645-8616.