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It’s Back! Commerce has funded a second round of $10 million in grants to support small businesses with 20 or fewer employees. Grant amounts will not exceed $10,000 total per business and is made possible by the Federal CARES Act. Nonprofits are eligible for a small section of this program.

Overview:

These grants are provided thanks to the Washington State Department of Commerce. The purpose of these grants is to support businesses with a physical location in Mason County who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and shut-down. These grants are administered by the Economic Development Council of Mason County (a Mason County, Washington based non-profit organization).  All complete and eligible applications will be reviewed and scored. The top 14 applications will each receive a grant award of up to $10,000.  The information provided here in no way implies that any specific amount will be awarded to any specific individual business.

To be eligible for consideration, qualifying small businesses must:

  • Have been officially in business (licensed with the State of Washington) since January 1, 2020.
  • Be federally-legal businesses.
  • Have a physical location in Mason County.
  • Have 20 or fewer employees including the owner prior to March 17, 2020.
  • Be able to demonstrate a loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic/shut down order.
  • Be sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, S-Corps, and contractors. Non-profits (any 501 organization) are also eligible for a portion of these funds.

If selected for an award, a successful business must be able to answer “yes” to the following questions:

  • The expense is connected to the COVID-19 emergency.
  • The expense is “necessary” to continue business operations.
  • The expense is not filling a shortfall in government revenues (i.e. taxes, licenses, state, county, federal and/or city fees).
  • The business will self–attest that the expense is not funded by any other funder, whether private, state or federal.

Can I apply if I own multiple businesses?

Yes. However, only one business per owner has the potential of being selected.

How much are these grants for?

The total grant fund is $133,675.00. Reserved funds for non-profits working in economic development or on economic development projects is $20,000.00. Individual awards will be made to selected qualifying businesses for up to a maximum of up to $10,000 per business. Businesses will need to be able to provide a proof of expenses for the specific amount of funding they are requesting that falls under the eligible uses for the grant.

What can I use a grant for?

Eligible uses include: operating expenses, rent, marketing, supplies, utility bills, inventory, consulting/training.

Ineligible uses include: payroll and capital expenses (e.g. computer equipment, machinery, office equipment, vehicles, and software.)

What do I need in order to apply?

If you meet all qualifying criteria, you will need to answer all questions on the application through the application portal when it opens and submit all required documentation including:

• A copy of your eligible expenses records

• A copy of your eligible expenses payments

All financial statements must be complete, accurate, and easily comprehensible. Any documentation that does not meet these criteria will not be considered. File types that will be accepted include .pdf, .jpeg, and .png. Please submit these via email to karin@choosemason.com.

When can I apply:

The application will be online only through the portal. No applications submitted by email will be accepted. The application portal will open to applicants starting at 9:00 AM PST on September 15, 2020. The application will be open for three weeks with the final deadline is 5:00 PM PST October 6th at which time the application portal will be closed. If there is money still available after all eligible applications have been reviewed and awarded, we will reopen the application portal upon announcement to the public.

How are funding decisions made?

Applications will be reviewed after the deadline to ensure applications are complete and applicant businesses are eligible.  All eligible and complete applications will be reviewed and scored by two members of the five-member review panel with a focus distributing the funding across the entire county. The top 14 applications will be awarded a grant.

When will funding decisions be announced?

Funding decisions will be announced as soon as possible. Due to the anticipated volume of applications, decisions may not be announced until October 9, 2020. We anticipate awarding all funding ($133,675) to eligible applicants by October 9, 2020.  You will receive confirmation that your application has been received. Due to the anticipated volume of applications, we are asking applicants not to contact us via email regarding the status of their application. Everyone will be notified regarding the outcomes.

How will I receive the funding if I am awarded?

Awardees will be notified and awarded checks will be issued by Economic Development Council of Mason County once all expenses reports and verification have been submitted. What if I need help with or have questions about the application process?  Please send any questions you may have to info@choosemason.com.

Where is the application?

The online application is available through the portal at http://www.choosemason.com/  and applicants are encouraged to review the application questions listed in the FAQs and prepare their financial reports (balance sheets and profit and loss statements).

Download the FAQs here.  Application submission deadline is October 6, 2020 at 5pm PST. 

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