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  • Town of Bluffton offers small business grants (affected by pandemic) via American Recovery Act

    July 19, 2022
    For More Information:
    David Nelems
    Vice President, Innovation
    Don Ryan Center for Innovation
    (Email): dnelems@townofbluffton.com
    Town of Bluffton offers small business grants for those affected by the pandemic
    via American Recovery Plan Act
    Bluffton Town Council established the Small Business Assistance Grant Fund to assist small businesses which were negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses, located in the Town of Bluffton limits, can apply for a maximum amount of $20,000 per grant. Applications will be accepted now through August 12, 2022. The application is available via link: https://www.donryancenter.com/arpa-intro-page
    “The Town’s business community is a major artery which pumps life into our Town,” Mayor Lisa Sulka said. “It is a priority to use a portion of the federal funds given to the Town, through the American Recovery Plan Act, to ensure our small businesses continue to thrive. Each of them contributes to our community’s collective economic propensity and it is important to each Town Council member to help these businesses through an unpredictable global hardship.”
    The Town’s Don Ryan Center for Innovation, which is the Town’s business incubator and economic development arm, will administer the grant program by establishing a Small Business Assistance Grant Advisory Committee. This committee will review and recommend grants through this program. Recommended grants may be approved based on need after a thorough review by the committee in accordance with the guidelines below. Grant distributions will be made in September.
    Grant distributions will comply with applicable guidelines and requirements within the U.S. Department of the Treasury Federal Register 31 CFR Part 35, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Final Rule (Final Rule), those are the rules which govern how municipalities can administer these federal funds.
    Criteria for Bluffton’s Small Business Assistance Grant Fund:
    A Town of Bluffton business is eligible for funding if:
    1. The business employed fewer than 50 full-time employees on March 1, 2020.
    2. The business is a small, for-profit business as defined in Section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632); independently owned and operated and not dominant in its field of operation, meaning it does not exercise a controlling or major influence in a kind of business activity in which several businesses are engaged.
    3. The business is currently and has been in business since at least March 1, 2020.
    4. The physical place of business is located within the boundaries of the Town of Bluffton, South Carolina.
    5. The business had a valid business license as of March 1, 2020, and has a current business license in the Town of Bluffton at the time of their application for this grant.
    6. The business suffered from business interruption caused by the response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
    7. The business suffered economic loss (excluding loss covered by insurance or reimbursed by a federal, state, or local program) and has paid eligible expenses for costs incurred from March 3, 2021, to March 1, 2022. Such loss was demonstrated by one or more of the following indicators of economic loss because of the response to the COVID 19 public health emergency:
    a. Decreased revenue or gross receipts (because of closures due to mandates or staffing shortages caused by COVID-19)
    b. Increased costs (in response to the COVID-19 health and safety measures)
    c. Reduced capacity to weather financial hardship (diminished capital reserves)
    Bluffton’s Small Business Assistance Grant’s eligible expenses:
    Grant amounts will be awarded based on proportional need and evidenced by appropriate back up of eligible expenses (i.e., payroll reports, invoices, quotes etc.). These awards are at the discretion of the Small Business Grant Advisory Committee.  Eligible expenses for reimbursement under this program include the following:

    1. Business Operation:
    • Employee payroll
    • Rent
    • Scheduled mortgage payments
    • Insurance
    • Utilities
    • Marketing
    • Loss of product/stock as it relates to product/stock expiration or spoilage
    1. Business Redesign for Mitigation of COVID spread:
    • Reconfiguring physical space
    • Installing plexiglass barriers
    • Purchasing web-conferencing or other technology to facilitate work-at-home
    • PPE and other COVID-related safety measures for employees and customers
    • COVID Specific Disinfection/Cleaning above and beyond regular cleaning disinfection
    • Structures necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19
    1. Business Planning Services:
    • Technical assistance
    • Business incubation services
    • Business strategy/planning services to support expansion during and post pandemic recovery
    Grant application’s required documentation:
    • IRS Forms 941/940 (2019/2020/2021)
    • Tax Returns (2019/2020/2021)
    • Profit & Loss Statements (2019/2020/2021)
    • W-9
    • Eligible Expenses Backup (i.e., payroll reports, invoices, quotes etc.)
    • Balance Sheets (2019, 2020, 2021)
    • Approval/Award Documentation for any of the following:
      • SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan
      • Shuttered Venues Grant (SVOG)
      • Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF)
      • SBA Debt Relief
    How to apply for Bluffton’s Small Business Assistance Grant:
    The application is available on the Don Ryan Center for Innovation websites:
    Don Ryan For Innovation link is: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/601434d5fe8fb7002d84eb59/t/6254b384c4d2a00e613f6c24/1649718148583/TOB_ARPA+Application.pdf

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