Cornelius creates small business grants for COVID-19 relief
Small businesses in Cornelius can now apply to receive financial assistance for the impacts of the coronavirus.
Businesses that meet certain criteria can receive up to $5,000 for eligible business-related expenses, such as rent or mortgage, payroll, utilities or inventory.
The program was made possible in partnership with Washington County and Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon, using funding distributed through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
The city will take applications for what it's calling ¡Revive! until 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 28.
It's the first time the city of about 12,000 people, more than half of whom speak Spanish as their first language, has been able to provide assistance funding to local businesses affected by the coronavirus-related restrictions.
"We are pleased that we can finally provide direct financial assistance to our small businesses in Cornelius through this grant program," said Ryan Wells, community development director for the city. "We know that it's been a difficult few months, and we hope that this infusion can help struggling business owners keep going until the masks can come off and we can once again freely engage with our business community. We are continuing to grow our ¡Revive! small business assistance program beyond just grants, and will be adopting additional supportive measures in the coming weeks."
To be eligible, businesses must be for-profit, physically located within the city, hold a Cornelius business license, be registered with the state, be individually owned if part of a franchise and be up to date on all federal, state and local taxes.
They must also have either closed due to Gov. Kate Brown's March "Stay Home, Save Lives" order or lost at least 30% of revenue in any month since March 2020 compared to the previous month or compared to the same month in 2019.
They cannot have employed more than 25 full-time employees in the last 12 months. Additionally, businesses that had more than $3 million in gross revenue in 2019 will not be eligible.
Businesses must also have been open since at least Sept. 1, 2019.
Passive real estate holding companies or other entities holding a passive investment in a small business but with no operational ties to that business will not be eligible for grants.
Marijuana-related businesses aren't eligible for grants because CARES Act funding comes from the federal government, which does not recognize Oregon's laws legalizing marijuana.
"Adult-oriented" businesses or those that derive a majority of their income from gambling activities also won't be eligible, the city said.
Cornelius recently received $170,000 in CARES Act funding from the county, and $161,500 is available for small business assistance. A portion of the allocation went to MESO for administrative costs.
Sole proprietors can receive up to $1,000, businesses with 10 employees or less can receive up to $2,500 and businesses with between 11 and 25 employees can receive up to $5,000. Wells said grant award amounts may vary.
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