Fresno County Board of Supervisors approves grant program to help local small business impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors has approved a small business grant program aimed to help local businesses recover as the economy begins reopening from the Coronavirus shutdown. The $5 million-dollar grant program, to be funded by federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act legislation, is open to any Fresno County business with 10 or fewer full-time employees that has not yet received grants or loans to address their losses and needs.

The “Help Underserved Businesses Program” was developed by Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman, Steve Brandau, and Supervisor, Brian Pacheco, in cooperation with Fresno County Economic Development Corporation.

“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,” says Vice Chairman Brandau.

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.

“The county is a safety net for many in our community, 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,” said Supervisor Pacheco. “Our hope is to ease some of the pain experienced by our small businesses, which are a major part of the engine that drives our economy.”

The grant program will require business owners to provide proof they were open two years before the economy was shut down and fill out a simple, two-page online application.

Lee Ann Eager, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation added, “As our business community continues to experience extraordinary hardships, I am pleased to assist the County of Fresno with its small businesses grant program. This program will be a lifeline for hundreds of businesses throughout the County.”

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