MADERA, California (KGPE) — Help is on the way for hundreds of businesses in Madera County as part of the Central Valley’s latest small business grant program. The scheme is designed to help businesses that lost significant revenue in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Madera County Board of Supervisors approved the $3.8 million Small Business Pandemic Assistance Grant Program Tuesday. The Madera County Economic Development Commission is now taking in applications, which you can find clicking here.
The program will award businesses with up to 20 employees $5,000. Businesses with up to 50 employees could get $10,000.
The approval comes as some business owners appear close to shutting down.
Yvonne Martinez has been doing her best to keep both her Madera-based businesses afloat: the ‘This N That Boutique’ at 1208 W. Olive Avenue (which she has operated for 12 years) and the California Veterans Thrift Store at 213 S. C Street (which she was operated for three months).
“Lots of people are staying inside, nobody is shopping,” Martinez said. “So, therefore, we aren’t getting the business we used to get.”
She’s tried getting help, even applying for the federal Payment Protection Program, also known as PPP, but she is yet to receive any assistance for her businesses’ losses this year.
The application process for the Small Business Pandemic Assistance Grant requires business owners to provide business verification documents, such as tax returns and business license information. The Madera County EDC is taking applications until Aug. 14.
A big disqualifier for the program is if you’ve already received help from a CARES Act funded program, like PPP.
“Unforunately, this program does not allow for that because [you can’t double dip with] CARES Act money,” said Lois Leonard, Madera County EDC’s office manager. “But, there are businesses out there that were hanging on and now they need help.”
Martinez is planning to get her application in soon, but if she doesn’t get a grant, she’s relying on her faith to get her through this.
“I’m blessed. I’m ok. If I don’t get it, I don’t get it,” Martinez said.
If you have questions about the program or application, you can call the Madera County EDC office at 559-675-7768.
Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties have all created similar programs with CARES Act funding.
Leonard said the city of Madera will also be rolling out a very similar program just for businesses within city limits soon.