BATAVIA — Genesee County is launching a $1 million Community Development Block Grant to help businesses affected by the pandemic.
Through the Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund, businesses that were hurt by COVID-19 will be eligible for a grant of up to $75,000 to aid their recovery. Eligible applicants are for-profit businesses in the county with 25 or fewer employees.
Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Director of Marketing and Communications Jim Krencik said the grant application is available and that as many eligible businesses as possible should apply.
“This grant is first come, first served. The first-round applications will be considered by the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) on March 22,” he said. “We encourage businesses to submit for that first round and to submit a completed application to The Harrison Studio by March 9.”
Email questions about the Genesee CARES program to The Harrison Studio’s Michael Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund” should appear on the email’s subject line.
Krencik said not all of the grant applications would be for the $75,000 maximum.
“We anticipate that business are going to apply at all levels of funding,” he said. “We want to see as many businesses as possible utilize the program. We have had such a great partnership, led by Genesee County and all the partners on our economic recovery task force. This is a great next step.”
The four general categories of eligibility are:
n Employment restoration/job hiring incentive: Businesses will be eligible to receive a grant totaling $20,000 toward expected annual wages for up to three new hires to a maximum of $60,000.
n Outdoor dining development grants of up to $50,000 to enhance outdoor dining (furniture, fixtures, equipment and working capital expenses related to expanding, installing, or improving outdoor dining and gathering spaces.) Construction or renovation costs are not eligible.
n A maximum of $50,000 of grant funds to be used to assist with working capital expenses for businesses that can demonstrate the impact of COVID has put a strain on their cash flow.
n Business resiliency grants of up to $25,000 to support small business efforts to respond to the pandemic for projects such as developing safety and resiliency plans, purchasing PPE, installing touchless point-of-sale systems, and other improvements.
Businesses can apply across multiple grant categories for up to $75,000 per business. Job creation, retention and restoration goals are tied to all categories.
“Despite so many of our businesses being impacted by the pandemic they have demonstrated perseverance and determination to keep their doors open and we are proud of them,” said Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein. “That is why we are so excited that our application for CDBG funding was approved as it will be a big shot in the arm to our business community as we continue our economic turnaround.”
County Manager Matt Landers said the county and its economic development partners, including the GCEDC, formed an Economic Recovery Task Force. The task force met monthly to discuss the impacts of the pandemic and come up with strategic efforts to assist with reopening and business recovery.
“Based on the extensive feedback from businesses across the county, we determined that pursuing this funding opportunity would provide the type of financial assistance they are seeking,” he said.
Businesses are encouraged to visit www.geneseecares.com to review eligibility and requirements for the grant. A fillable application is available for download at the website.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our regional economy and the process for reviewing applications is similar to our micro-enterprise small business loan program so it will be a seamless process,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.