Ohio, Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, along with City Council President Shannon G. Hardin and Franklin County Board of Commissioners President John O’Grady has announced that more than 850 small, minority and women-owned businesses have received more than $8.3 million from the Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund.
The Fund, launched in June 2020 using CARES Act dollars, offered grants, low-interest loans and technical assistance for small businesses in the Greater Columbus area impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In Columbus, 80% of all of our businesses are small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. In order for our recovery from the pandemic and resulting economic crisis to be successful and equitable, we must assure that small and minority-owned businesses recover and thrive,” said Mayor Ginther.
To date, 83.7% of the grant awards approved were awarded to businesses within the City and 16.3% for businesses outside the City, but within Franklin County. In addition:
- 84% of businesses receiving grants are going to businesses with 5 or fewer employees;
- 379 (or 43%) businesses receiving grants are women owned;
- 709 (or 80%) businesses receiving grants are owned by minorities.
The Fund provided financial assistance to small businesses throughout the City, some in low- to moderate income (LMI) tracts of the City, in three ways: Recovery Grants, Small Business Return Safely Grants and Pivot Loans to help sustain existing business operations and aid in job retention.
Recovery Grants applicants received up to $10,000 to help maintain existing business operations and retain jobs through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Return Safely Grants for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and facility improvements provided assistance up to $5,000 to help small businesses reopen safely and responsibly.
The Pivot Loans provided small businesses with access to low-interest forgivable loans to assist businesses that may have found additional market share or to assist in adding capacity to pivot into a new business line by providing funding to assist with capital investments. Applicants were eligible to receive a loan up to $20,000.
“Small businesses, especially those in working class neighborhoods, are struggling during the COVID recession,” said Council President Hardin.
“I’m proud that alongside Franklin County and many other partners, we were able to prioritize not just small businesses, but businesses owned by people of color to make sure they benefited from these funds.”
“Our character is being tested in how we respond to this pandemic, and Franklin County is working to help residents through this difficult time. That is why we stress wearing masks to protect our neighbors and have created several different grant and loan programs for businesses. The more we help one another, the stronger we all become,” said Commissioner O’Grady.
The Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund is supported by the City of Columbus, Franklin County Board of Commissioners and JPMorgan Chase in partnership with Rev1 Ventures, ECDI, Next Street and dozens of regional Entrepreneur Support Organizations.