Fresno County businesses left out of previous grants or loans have new hope.
On Tuesday, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a small business grant program open to any Fresno County business with 10 or fewer full-time employees.
The county set aside $5 million from its $82 million in federal stimulus funds for the program.
Grants of $5,000 Each
The grants — up to $5,000 each — will be distributed evenly to each of the five supervisorial districts and awarded to businesses through a lottery system. But, the supervisors said no double-dipping would be allowed. Businesses that already received federal or local aid are not eligible.
The grant program will require business owners to provide proof they were open two years before the economy was shut down and to fill out a simple, two-page online application.
“This grant program is a great opportunity for the Board of Supervisors to impact Fresno County small businesses and help them get back on their feet,” said Supervisor Steve Brandau.
“The county is a safety net for many in our community,” said Supervisor Brian Pacheco. “Especially those in our rural areas, including small businesses and others that have been unable to get help from the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program or city of Fresno forgivable loan process,”
The “Help Underserved Businesses Program” was developed by Brandau and Pacheco in cooperation with Fresno County Economic Development Corp.
“This program will be a lifeline for hundreds of businesses throughout the county,” said Lee Ann Eager, president/CEO of the Fresno County EDC.