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Roanoke County launches $1M grant program for recovery of small business amid pandemic



ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. — Officials with the Roanoke County Department of Economic Development announced Monday morning the establishment of a $1 million grant fund to support small businesses’ recovery in Roanoke County and the Town of Vinton amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a news release from Roanoke County on Monday, July 6, the grants are funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Using these funds, Roanoke County Department of Economic Development and the Economic Development Authority will reportedly administer one-time grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses that complete an application outlining how they plan to use the funds offset the impact of the pandemic on their livelihood.

Officials say the grant funds must be used in compliance with state and federal laws. In addition, the funds are only available on a first come, first serve basis, with only one grant allowed per business. Furthermore, the funds cannot be used to pay taxes, fees, or other payments owed to Roanoke County, according to Monday’s statement.

However, Roanoke County says the funds may be used as reimbursement for the costs of mandatory closures amid the pandemic, which may include the following expenses:

  • Operations, such as payroll, rent, supplies, utilities, working capital, insurance, etc.
  • Response to new market conditions, including the development or expansion of online sales/e- commerce, delivery, or take out; the development of new product lines; and more
  • Equipment and inventory purchases
  • Rent or mortgage expenses
  • Deep cleaning services, PPE, protective barriers, etc. to ensure worker safety
  • Other critical operating expenses

According to officials, any Roanoke County businesses that meet the following eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply for the recovery grant:

  • Be an existing, for-profit business located in Roanoke County with less than 500 employees but at least one employee (excluding the owner).
  • Be current on all fees, permits, and taxes as of March 1.
  • Has been in business for at least one year prior to March 1.
  • Possess a valid business license for Roanoke County or the Town of Vinton.
  • Demonstrate direct negative impacts due to the pandemic such as revenue loss, reduced sales, closure or suspended operation, employment decline, or business interruption.
  • Demonstrate a sustainability plan for maintaining the business in Roanoke County.

However, Roanoke County says businesses not currently in operation; banks and financial services; seasonal businesses that only operate part of the year; nonprofit businesses; franchise businesses that are not locally owned and operated; and businesses that are permanently closed or engaged in illegal activities are not eligible for the Small Business Recovery Grant.

Officials say grant awards are based on the availability of funds, the number of applications received, and the following pre-coronavirus full-time equivalent (FTE) employment levels:

  • $2,500 for one to five employees
  • $5,000 for six to 10 employees
  • $7,500 for 11 to 25 employees
  • $10,000 for more than 25 employees

“Business closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic created a great hardship for employees, owners, customers, our community and our economy,” said Jill Loope, Roanoke County Economic Development Director. “Throughout the pandemic and closure, we have been in contact with businesses to connect them to resources and help them recover. And while the amount of money we are able to grant can never begin to make everyone whole, we believe the grant program will be of significant help to many.”

If you are interested in applying for this grant, you can download an electronic application — which are being accepted starting Monday, July 6 — or get more information on the Roanoke County Economic Development’s COVID-19 Resources for Businesses website.

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