Nevada Allocates $20 Million of Grant Funds to Small Businesses

Since COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 13, small businesses have been struggling. Beginning Monday, October 19, small businesses and nonprofits in Nevada can apply for grants. The deadline to apply for grant funding is November 2. The funds come from $20 million of CARES Act money that Nevada is distributing for economic relief.

How Much Money a Small Business Can Get

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees can apply for a grant. Each grant is worth up to $10,000. The application is short and requires proof of the number of employees and the financial hardship the business has experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be no re-dos of applications with errors, so business owners should take care in ensuring the accuracy of the information they submit. Businesses in the arts and culture sectors of the economy can get up to $20,000 in grant funding.

Who Has Priority for Grant Funds

The state of Nevada explained that the grant funds will have a hierarchy for fulfillment. Minority-owned businesses and businesses that are in sectors of the economy that were especially hard-hit will have a better chance of getting the $10,000. Those industries include restaurants, bars, taverns and childcare centers. State officials expect to have enough funds, but if they don't, they plan to ask the state legislature to allocate more money for grants to small business owners across the state. The officials estimate that 2,000 small business owners will receive the $10,000 grants.

What Small Businesses Can Do With the Grant Funds

Small business owners who receive the grants can use the money for payroll, personal protective equipment, marketing, cleaning services and hiring more employees. Even if a small business already received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, they can still apply for these state grant funds. The state's goal is to help more small businesses that haven't yet received any financial assistance. The state has people available to help small businesses complete grant applications. They're also starting a marketing campaign to get the word out about the available funds.

Grant Eligibility Rules

To be eligible for the $10,000 to $20,000 grants, businesses must have been operating in Nevada before March 1, 2020. They must have a bricks-and-mortar location in the state. The business can't be an illegal business as defined by the federal government. Annual revenue for the business should be less than $4 million. The business should not have more than 50 employees, including any combination of part-time and full-time workers.

Goal of the Grant Program

The grant program administrators recognize that small business owners have shouldered a disproportionate amount of the economic burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state defines disadvantaged businesses as those owned by women, minorities, veterans and people with disabilities. Some national studies have demonstrated that businesses owned by African Americans have suffered more losses than the average small business has experienced. The food and beverage industry has also been hit hard.

Avoid More Small Business Closures

Another goal of the grant program is to avoid any additional closures of small businesses in Nevada. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York explained that the number of active business owners decreased by 22% around the United States. The number of black-owned businesses dropped by 41%. The number of Latinx-owned businesses dropped by 32%.

This Isn't the First Grant, and Nevada Hopes It Won't Be the Last

This isn't the first time Nevada has provided an emergency grant program to small businesses in the state. There was an earlier round of funding that was distributed over the summer. The state leadership of Nevada agreed on a bipartisan level that more federal funding is needed in order to protect the state's small businesses. Nevada will need additional funds from the federal government if it is going to be able to provide another round of funding to he state's small businesses.

What Small Business Owners Say They Need

Small business owners stress that they need another round of Pandemic Paycheck Protection funds. If consumers aren't confident about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, they won't go out and purchase a take-out meal or browse for a gift for their loved one. Small businesses may need multiple rounds of support until a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

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