Fresno Mayor Lee Brand joins Councilmembers Miguel Arias, Esmeralda Soria, and Mike Karbassi to announce the City of Fresno’s second phase of joint economic relief action to help small businesses in Fresno affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The second phase, approved by City Council on May 14, 2020, appropriates $2 million in federal relief funding received from the CARES Act and aims to help local economic recovery with funding for those small business owners who need it most.
On March 25, 2020, Fresno City Council passed the “Save Our Small Businesses Act” that established a $750,000 small business relief program that provided $5,000 and $10,000 loans-to-grant to 118 small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) during the month of April. Over 2,600 local businesses applied for the program and the money was awarded by a random selection process. For the second round of emergency assistance, the City has set aside two and a half times its original funding amount in order to help almost three times as many businesses than the first round of funding.
“We have already provided a measure of relief to a number of our small businesses that have experienced unprecedented disruption due to COVID-19, but the need is still great and our responsibility to offer assistance is still crucial to their survival,” said Mayor Brand. “We must all continue to look out for each other during these challenging times and offer encouragement and support whenever we can. I’m so proud of our great city because we’re still thinking of others in the midst of our own concerns.”
“I am thrilled the Mayor and Council have prioritized finding funds to help small businesses weather this storm. This is another critical step helping our local mom and pop shops as we’re rebuilding Fresno’s economy and securing thousands of important jobs,” said Councilmember Karbassi.
Under the terms of the new ordinance, businesses impacted by COVID-19 with 1 to 5 employees can apply for a $5,000 grant while businesses impacted by COVID-19 with 6 to 25 employees are eligible for a $10,000 grant. The business must have a valid City of Fresno Business License Tax Certificate, have been in business no later than February 15, 2020, cannot have any outstanding code enforcement or conditional use permit (CUP) violations or have received relief funding at the local, state or federal level. The City’s Economic Development Department will manage the program.
Councilmember Soria added, “The small businesses which are essential to our local economy are struggling from COVID19-related loss of business. The grants approved today and funded through federal CARES Act money will assist those business owners with ongoing expenses and in retaining jobs.”
The application portal for the Save Our Small Business Program will be available on the City of Fresno’s website with links on both the front page and the Economic Development Department’s page, and will be open starting Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. until 11:59 p.m., Friday, June 5, 2020.
If there are more applications than available funding, there will be a random drawing to determine which businesses get the grants. Potential applicants can call Lupe Perez, Economic Development Director for the City of Fresno, at (559) 621-8350 for more information.