When Salt Lake County opened its Small Business Impact Grant (SBIG) to businesses closed by COVID-19’s public health orders, its goal was to reach small businesses forgotten in the rush of initial federal relief. Since June 16, Salt Lake County has successfully reached out to thousands of eligible business owners and has awarded $2.4 million in grants to 142 businesses across the county, with $2.1 million in grants requested by businesses still under review.
Based on documented losses, the average grant award in the first round was $17,000. During Round 1, Salt Lake County found 45 percent of the businesses that applied were outside the main industries temporarily closed but still felt the very real effects of COVID-19 and a need for more support. Another large segment of applicants received federal aid from the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), but the loans were not enough to sustain businesses through this extended period of the disease’s spread, the county found.
While economic recovery will continue to be a long-term strategic effort, the county is committed to mitigating short-term effects in its collaborative effort to stabilize the economy, it said in a statement. In Round 2 of the SBIG Program launched recently, all business industries are eligible to apply, as well as those who received other federal, state or local COVID-19 aid. Those who received financial aid through CARES Act funding are eligible if their amount did not exceed $35,000. These changes will allow thousands of more businesses to apply and avoid taking on additional debt.
“Listening to business owners in the past month, we learned and assessed additional needs required to prevent our small businesses from closing,” said Dina Blaes, Salt Lake County’s regional development director. “After meeting the SBIG’s initial goals, this second round is in response to those developing needs. The county is uniquely positioned to pivot more quickly than federal programs and we aim to get more money into the economy as fast as we can.”
The grant can be used for losses from March 16 to July 31. Applicants with questions can call the county’s Business Relief Hotline, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., at (385) 468-4011.