NYC to provide $100M in grants to small business owners affected by the pandemic

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is providing a $100 million grant for small business owners.

Mayor Bill de Blasio made the big announcement during a private luncheon on Wednesday.

It's an initiative for low and moderate-income communities that the city has been working on for months.

Small Business Services Commissioner Jonnell Doris said the grant is projected to serve 10,000 small businesses and builds on more than $500 million in assistance already provided to businesses during the pandemic.

"These businesses are really the backbone of our economy, and not just our economy but the culture of our city, the fabric of our city. These businesses drive who we are as New Yorkers. So we've got to support them," Doris said.

The NYC Small Business Resilience Grant promises to provide immediate funding to small businesses in the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food sectors to help them recover.

SBS helped businesses to stay resilient by launching 51 initiatives and campaigns, providing over 337,000 services including, handling more than 75,000 calls to its hotline, visiting over 175 commercial corridors, and hosting 865 webinars to some 56,800 attendees.

Access to capital has been the most critical need in the small business community during the pandemic.

Since March 2020, SBS has helped more than 10,000 businesses connect to $623 million in local, state, federal, and private funding to weather the crisis and build back stronger.

The NYC Small Business Resilience Grant builds on this financial support through a program intentionally designed to reach the communities hardest hit by COVID, as well as underserved communities identified by census tract data, that continue to struggle due to COVID.

"Specifically targeting them because of the struggles, the financial struggles that they've had. Many of them are trying to get federal grants and other types of assistance. It's been difficult for them," Doris said.

SBS is partnering with the United Way of New York City, Queens Chamber of Commerce and more to reach small business owners across neighborhoods and communities in NYC's five boroughs.

"The City is committed to a fair, just, and inclusive recovery for all," said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Co-Chair of the Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity. It was imperative that we offer another round of relief to small businesses, so they can continue to serve their communities for years to come."

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Without them, our city will not move forward in our recovery efforts," Commissioner Doris said. "This grant will ensure our small businesses have the aid needed to recover from these extraordinary times and build back better."

Eligible businesses can apply to receive a $10,000 grant. The grant can be used for payroll and benefits, mortgage, rent, utilities, and other operating costs.

"We're about to come into January, that's a slower time for a lot of businesses in my industry and we want to be able to feel like we're going to be able to get to that next month," Make My Cake Bakery owner Aliyyah Baylor said.

Businesses who would like to apply for the grant must:
- Have been in operation before October 1, 2019
- Demonstrate revenue loss between 2019 and 2020
- Not have received a federal grant from the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program or the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

Businesses can learn more about the NYC Small Business Resilience Grant at covidresilience.nyc.

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