Albany County officials have announced applications for small business grants will open on Monday. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says officials and community partners are fast-tracking a grant program created earlier this month to help small businesses heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
" It's a combined $500,000 grant program for local small businesses, each worth up to $5,000. We know $5,000 isn't a huge sum of money, but for any one business, but it's so important for initiative for small business that's struggling." Come January 4th, small businesses can begin applying for grants. "This is the biggest effort in the Capital Region so far, to help small businesses." Democratic County Legislature Chair Andrew Joyce says small businesses have two weeks to file their applications: "…which you can use for up to two months of back rent, two weeks of perishable goods, and any expenses related to retrofitting your establishment to protect yourselves, your employees and your customers from COVID." That includes PPE, contactless purchasing, online ordering services, and more. The program is being administered by the Advanced Albany County Alliance LDC through a partnership with the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region, which will help manage the application process.To be eligible, applicants must be a sales-tax-generating for-profit business, with no more than 50 employees and located within Albany County. The business must also show that its revenue has decreased by at least 25 percent due to COVID-19 and how the current COVID-19 economic conditions make the grant request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the business.Executive Director Linda MacFarlane says applications will be live on the Community Loan Fund website, as well as the county's website: "So we will be reviewing the applications you'll be hearing from us if we're there's any information missing. Or if you have any questions on how to fill out the application. We are providing training and technical assistance free of charge, not only through the application process, but also afterwards, we've developed a series of training programs for COVID related reopening your business, how do you? How do you survive during COVID? How do you survive going forward, what changes need to be made to your business model." MacFarlane says applications will be ranked by priority and then scored to determine recipients. The first awards are expected to be distributed in February.