Today the Minnesota Senate passed legislation to appropriate $60 million for small businesses in crisis from the stay at home orders and coronavirus pandemic. The bill was passed with bipartisan support. The bill takes $57.6 million from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund and $2.4 million from the Small Business Guarantee Loan program to provide relief grants to Minnesota small businesses.
“The mandated shutdowns have had monumentally devastating impacts on businesses across the state,” said Senator Scott Jensen (R-Chaska). “Every community has been touched. This is not a long-term solution, but small businesses need these grants now to carry them through. Every day that passes it becomes more important that we get our businesses up and running again. We will keep working to reopen Minnesota!”
A business is eligible if it has a brick and mortar location in Minnesota, is owned by a permanent resident, employs 50 or fewer full-time staff, and can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Once approved, eligible businesses may receive grants of up to $10,000 to use for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar business expenses.
“I am a small business owner myself, and I’ve heard from the small businesses in northern Minnesota about the disproportionate effect the shutdown has had on them,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake). “Small businesses don’t have robust profits to sit on and wait the pandemic out. They have immediate needs and this bill is a start to recovering our economy.”
The bill designates $30 million to be distributed to businesses in Greater Minnesota and $30 million for distribution in the seven-county metropolitan area. At least $18 million of the funds would be designated for microbusinesses of 6 or fewer employees. A minimum of $15 million must be awarded to minority-owned, veteran-owned, and women-owned businesses.