Another round of financial aid is being rolled out for small businesses in Hamilton County.
On Monday, applications again opened for the county’s Small Business Relief Program, which earlier this year disbursed more than $1.7 million to nearly 220 businesses.
The $5 million grant program for small businesses in Hamilton County is live! Round two of the Hamilton County CARES Small Business Relief Program is open to help stabilize businesses from the impacts of COVID-19 with grants up to $10,000. Learn more at https://t.co/EAfNotddnp pic.twitter.com/62sTWShDD0— Hamilton County, OH (@HamiltonCntyOH) August 24, 2020
For this round, the program has a total of $5 million to give out. Businesses that meet the qualifications for the second round of grants — including making less than $2 million per year in revenue — will be eligible for up to $10,000. The application period ends Sept. 4.
In a press conference announcing the rollout of the second round of the grant program, Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus noted that the county has “learned some lessons” from the first version of the program.
“This round is designed to make it easier for small businesses to apply,” Driehaus said, and added that the adjustments would mean “less paperwork and less restrictive eligibility requirements to include more businesses.”
For instance, small businesses that applied for the first round of grants had to prove that they’d lost 35% of their business compared to the same month last year; this time around, businesses do not have to prove that 35% loss, but instead qualify as long as they were included in the Ohio Department of Health’s orders to close in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic response.
If they weren't included in the order, as long as they can show a "decrease in gross revenue/receipts" of 15% or more as a result of COVID-19 year over year, they qualify.
Some small businesses, including adult entertainment establishments and liquor stores, are not eligible for grants even if they closed or sustained losses. Small businesses that have received more than $20,000 in federal assistance are not eligible for the new round of Hamilton County’s relief program, either.
As with the first round, a lottery system will be used to select applications if the total number exceeds the $5 million available. One lottery will be drawn for businesses with 10 or fewer employees, while a second lottery will be held for business with up to 50 employees.
“The idea right now is, if you’re a small biz and you haven’t gotten Hamilton County assistance in the past, apply, apply, apply,” Driehaus urged.
For a full list of eligibility requirements and an FAQ, check out the Hamilton County Small Business Relief Program website at hamiltoncountyohio.gov.