BOSTON (SHNS) – Gov. Charlie Baker helped relaunch a grant program for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday, visiting a West African restaurant in Brockton to mark the opening of the application window that will end with $75 million going to support businesses like Luanda Restaurant and Lounge.
The program is being funded with money from the American Rescue Plan Act and last year’s state tax revenue surplus, and is the successor to the $668 million small business relief fund Baker set up in late 2020. “This program has proven to be a lifesaver and game-changer for so many businesses here in the commonwealth,” Baker said.
The ARPA/surplus bill made $50 million in grants available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, with priority given to businesses that serve socially and economically disadvantaged communities and those owned and operated by minorities, women, veterans, members of the LGBTQ community, and those with disabilities. The other $25 million in grants are being reserved for businesses that did not previously qualify for relief funding under the initial program.
The application period opens at noon on Wednesday, and businesses will have five weeks to apply for grants of up to $75,000 that can be used on everything from payroll, mortgages and rent to COVID-19 safety supplies or outdoor dining upgrades.
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation President Larry Andrews, who will administer the grants, said his goal is to start awarding money by the end of April or early May. “To the small business owners who may be watching this right now. Your resiliency and optimism is contagious and really inspiring. We thank you and want to support you further,” Andrews said.