Seminole County to offer 2nd round of grant funding for small businesses hurt by pandemic

Seminole County will offer a second round of grant funding to more small businesses that have been harmed financially by the Covid-19 pandemic. The eligibility criteria for the grants also will be expanded.

The county got $20.58 million in funds distributed through Florida as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. From that, the county will distribute $10 million through more small business grants.

The county’s first funding round, which totaled $1 million, previously was for grants of up to $5,000 for about 200 businesses, with a focus on those with wages at or below $19.59 an hour.

Now the county has proposed the following tiers for funding:

  • Home-based or mobile businesses with at least one employee besides the owner, as well as businesses with 1099 employees like hair salons, can receive grants of $5,000.
  • Businesses with 2-25 W-2 employees (including owner) can receive $10,000 grants.
  • Businesses with 26-50 W-2 employees (including owner) can receive $15,000 grants.

The county does not have an estimated total of businesses that would be helped, Seminole County Deputy County Manager Tricia Johnson told Orlando Business Journal. “The grant tiers vary, therefore it’s difficult to determine how many businesses will be supported by the Seminole CARES Small Business Grant.”

An application process for the additional funding has yet to be set up, but businesses can sign up for updates here. The county will set up its website for all CARES Act programs in the next few weeks, and the application portal could be ready by mid-August, Johnson added.

Seminole County and 54 other counties with populations of less than 500,000 received the disbursement of funds from the state. Seminole County is eligible for up to $82 million in funding through the CARES Act, with the potential for additional funding by Dec. 30.

Other local governments also have created small business grant programs, including Orange County, the city of Sanford and the city of St. Cloud.

Orange County received 7,254 applications and approved more that $21 million to go out to businesses as of July 13, according to the latest press conference update from the county. The county wants to help about 6,500 businesses with grants of $10,000, which would translate to $65 million total.

Ryan Lynch  –  Orlando Business Journal