DEED Swamped with Applicants for Small Business Relief Grants
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DEED Swamped with Applicants for Small Business Relief Grants

Fewer than one in four will win lottery for $10,000 awards

Many businesses facing financial fallout due to the Covid-19 pandemic tapped the federal Paycheck Protection Program for loans to help keep the lights on. But clearly many small business owners are still looking for more money to help.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced that more than 27,400 Minnesota businesses had applied for grants from the new Small Business Relief Grant Program. The state program provides grants of $10,000 to businesses that can “demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

But applying is no guarantee of securing a grant. The total number of applicants is more than four times the number of grants that the state agency can award from the program.

The state has dedicated $60.3 million to the program. For every applicant to get a $10,000 grant, it would take more than $274 million.

Approximately 5,780 businesses will receive grants. The remainder of the money is dedicated to assisting cultural malls, which the state defines as “permanent indoor retail space and food markets that have an ethnic cultural emphasis.”

According to DEED program applicants included:

  • 9,740 women-owned businesses (35 percent of all applicants)
  • 5,535 minority-owned businesses (20 percent of all applicants)
  • 1,340 veteran-owned businesses (5 percent of all applicants)
  • 19,197 businesses with 6 or fewer employees (70 percent of all applicants)

DEED announced Friday that it had completed the lottery drawing to determine grant recipients. DEED performed the randomized selection process with the Minnesota Lottery. The agency has notified qualified nonprofit organizations, who will be administering the program and distributing the funds. The nonprofits are now charged with completing eligibility verifications for the grantees.

DEED expects to make a list of all Small Business Relief Grant recipients public by late August.