Pima County launches small business grant program to help with COVID 19 expenses

Small business grants

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Another round of help is on the way for small businesses in Pima County.

The Pima County CARES for Small Business Grant Program will provide grants up to $10,000 for qualifying small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The program has a total budget of $1.7 million, provided from the County’s allocation of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding.

It’ll help small businesses like Inca’s Peruvian Cuisine on Sunrise, who applied for the grant Friday.

“We are making an average daily sales but we need a little help to continue,” said owner Fatima Campos.

Qualifying businesses can use the grant funds to pay for expenses related to mortgage payments, rent costs, lease payments, and utility expenses. Grants awards can be applied to past expenses only, not future or ongoing expenses.

Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. The application process is open to small businesses in the unincorporated areas outside of the cities and towns. The City of Tucson and other municipalities have similar business assistance grant programs for business located within their jurisdictions.

Qualifications include:

  • 30 employees or fewer
  • Finances negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Legally established prior to February 2020
  • Owner must be at least 18 years old and have valid employee identification number of Social Security number

“Small business is the back-bone of pima county and what we’re picking up is they’re having a tremendously difficult time so we’re trying to do everything we can to assist them," said Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Director, Pima County Economic Development.

Cavanaugh said within a few hours of the application opening, 82 requests came in.

For Inca’s, it’ll help ease the burden of past bills, letting them focus on the future. Campos said they want to expand their seating outside since indoor operations have stopped.

“With winter coming, we need to expand the patio and get more heaters and have everything--our utilities up to date to allow us to do something extra.”

It’ll give them a break from crunching numbers, so they wont have to give up all they’ve worked for

“We’re going to continue fighting to go through all this and keep serving our customers," said Campos.

Certain businesses are not eligible for funding through the Pima County CARES for Small Business Grant Program. These businesses include lending institutions, life insurance companies, foreign companies, cannabis companies, businesses primarily engaged in political or lobbying activity. A complete list of ineligible businesses is available with the application material.

The application closes October 9th and money is limited. Cavanaugh said it is a first come, first serve operation.

Apply here: https://zoomgrants.com/gprop.asp?donorid=2163&limited=3085

Applicants will need to create an account to complete the application form. The application process opens Friday, Sept. 25.

Additional information about Pima County’s small business assistance is available at www.pima.gov/backtobusiness.

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