By Paul Hughes, Republican-American
WINDSOR — The Lamont administration is launching a $50 million grant program for small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have been struggling in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees, or a 2019 payroll of less than $1.5 million, will be eligible for a one-time grant of $5,000 under the Connecticut CARES Small Business Grant Program.
Qualifying applicants also will have to demonstrate minimum revenue losses year-over-year of 20% due to the outbreak compared to Sept. 20, 2019.
The grants can be used for payroll, rent, utilities, inventory, purchase of machinery or equipment, or costs associated with compliance to the state’s reopening rules.
“When it comes to the economic impact of this ongoing global pandemic, the smallest businesses have been hit the hardest, and I’ve spoken with so many owners who are doing their best to keep their workers employed and their businesses active during this incredibly challenging time,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.
The Lamont administration is using $50 million in federal funding the state received under the CARES Act to finance the grant program.
The state Department of Economic and Community Development anticipates it will begin accepting online applications the week of Nov. 9. The funds must be disbursed no later than Dec. 30 to comply with CARES Act requirements.
The funding will be sufficient to provide grants to 10,000 recipients, said Gwendolyn Thames, a deputy DECD commissioner.
Lamont and Thames said $25 million of the grant funding will be reserved for businesses and nonprofits in 25 towns and cities the state has designated as economically distressed communities. The 2020 list does not include Naugatuck, Beacon Falls or Prospect.