By Jason Subik
The chief herald
Fulton County received a $ 500,000 US CARES Act Microenterprise Grant to help businesses with 25 or fewer employees that lost money in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The state approved the $ 500,000 COVID-related microenterprise grant on September 9 and we just received the award letter this week,” Ron Peters, president and CEO of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth said Friday.
The grant program is administered by the center, which has just closed the application period for a similar $ 300,000 microenterprise grant program for businesses with five or fewer employees.
“We have already received requests that will total this previous grant of $ 300,000”, Peters said. âNow we’re here to get information from successful applicants, to save the applications and bring them into the state. We have already sent five. We have more than enough candidates to swallow it all up, but we don’t want to overwhelm the state, so we send them out as a group at a time, rather than all at once. “
Peters said approval to receive grants from one of the center-administered microenterprise grant programs involves a multi-step process, with applications first being approved by a local committee of Fulton County officials, then sent to the Housing Division and New York State. Community renewal for final approval. He said the $ 300,000 grant had a two-year window for applications, but the $ 500,000 COVID-related grant will go faster, with a 12-month deadline for all applications to be received, processed. and sent to the state.
âWe can work with applicants now, but we will need to have a public hearing before we can start submitting nominations, but this will be one of the last steps. “ Peters said. âWe like to do as much upstream work as possible. “
Fulton County Center Economic Development Specialist Kenneth Adamczyk is the point of contact for working with potential applicants for the $ 500,000 grant. Adamczyk said business owners who wish to pre-qualify to apply for money should contact the Fulton County Center office at (518) 725-7700 ext. 1002, or stop by the organization’s office at 34 W Fulton St, Gloversville, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Adamczyk provided a list of some of the eligibility factors that a business must meet to be eligible for a portion of the $ 500,000 grant.
Here are some, but not all, of the grant eligibility and funding rules:
– The business can be a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation, but it must be located in Fulton County and must be a for-profit entity, non-profit organizations are not eligible.
– The business must have been in operation during the year 2019. Businesses opened after 2019 are not eligible.
– The business must have 25 employees or less at the time of application.
– The business must have operated at a loss during the year 2020 based on the company’s 2020 income tax return, or if the business has not operated at a loss, it must clearly demonstrate the substantial measures cost reduction measures taken to avoid operating at a loss, such as layoffs or temporary closures. These cost-cutting measures should translate into a comparison of the company’s 2019 and 2020 tax returns.
– Only businesses that can demonstrate a total gross revenue loss of at least 20% in 2020, compared to the 2019 tax year, are eligible for funding.
– If the owner is low income, the owner can prove eligibility by providing copies of tax returns (three years) to prove low income status. If the business has multiple owners, they must all be low income.
– If the business owner is not low income, the business may still be eligible for funding by showing that the funding will create or maintain jobs if at least 51% of jobs retained or jobs created are at low or moderate income.
– For businesses that keep or create jobs, there will also be a cap based on the number of full-time equivalent jobs retained or created by the business: one FTE job = maximum subsidy of $ 25,000; two FTE jobs = maximum grant of $ 40,000; three or more FTE jobs = maximum grant of $ 75,000. Businesses that qualify as low-income owner-owned will be limited to a grant of $ 25,000.
– Each proposed commercial grant must be reviewed and approved by the Fulton County Center and the Fulton County Microenterprise Grant Committee, and is subject to the approval of the New York State Office of Community Renewal.
– Passive investment is a prohibited use of funds. Grant funds cannot be used for projects or activities that consist primarily of investing, speculating in real estate or for similar purposes. Rental activities for apartments or businesses are not eligible. Businesses must actively provide goods and services and employ people on a regular daily basis providing those goods or services.
– The company must fully document all eligible expenses by means of supplier invoices on the supplier invoice header. Handwritten invoices on plain paper will not be eligible.
– As a general rule, only costs incurred after grant approval by the Fulton County Center and the Fulton County Microenterprise Grant Committee will be eligible for project costs. There may be an exception to this rule, based on cases of demonstrated extreme hardship, and only with approval from the New York State Office of Community Renewal.
– Subsidy funding is limited to expenses not related to construction. Construction, rehabilitation and renovation activities are not eligible expenses; such activities would trigger federal labor standards and additional environmental requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act and the State Environmental Quality Act (SEQRA).
– Business owners will be required to provide cash consideration of at least 10% of the total documented costs of the project. Grant funds cannot exceed 90% of documented costs.
Peters said he believes the $ 500,000 microenterprise grant might be ideal for a restaurant that has been forced to close during the pandemic shutdown.
âA restaurant that took a hell of a beating because it wasn’t able to serve sit-down meals or lay off employees or rely solely on take-out orders – that would be an ideal candidate. Peters said.
Adamczyk cautioned that applicants should be aware that the ability to demonstrate financial need will be critical to successful applicants for funding.
âBasically they have to show how they have been affected by the pandemic, of course they are looking for a financial impact, but also in other situations like a gym that has been forced to close for long periods of time and all the things that they had. to buy to reopen “, Adamczyk said. âI’m looking for companies now. “