Minnesota Senate approves funding for small business relief grants

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation that creates a grant program for small businesses. The bill, Senate File 4481, makes $60 million available in grants for small businesses adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Small businesses in Minnesota are in crisis mode and they need immediate assistance. This legislation represents a bipartisan compromise that will deliver a much-needed lifeline to thousands of small businesses across the state,” said Senator Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake), chair of the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee. “These are the hometown small businesses on which we rely every single day and that support our communities – and many of which are at real risk of never opening again. While the best way to jump start our economy is to get people working again, this is action we can take right now to deliver some relief.”

Small businesses will be eligible for grants of up to $10,000 to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other related expenses. Half of the grants will be awarded to small businesses in the Metro area, with the other half awarded to businesses in Greater Minnesota. The business must be located in Minnesota, owned by a permanent Minnesota resident, have a physical location, be in good standing with the State of Minnesota, employ 50 or fewer full-time employees, and demonstrate financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.  Entities will not eligible if they have previously received assistance through the state’s Small Business Emergency Loan program. Finally, the legislation includes provisions making sure a sizeable portion of the grant funds will be available to businesses with six or fewer full-time employees, minority-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and women-owned businesses.

The bill awaits action by the Minnesota House of Representatives. If it is signed into law, the program would take effect the day after it is enacted.

Senator Eric Pratt represents Scott County in the Minnesota Senate. He serves as chair of the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee and is an assistant majority leader.