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Baker announces launch of program to benefit certain small businesses

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, along with state officials, announced the launch of a new small business relief program.

Speaking Wednesday from Brockton, the governor kicked off a $75 million grant program through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation to provide relief to businesses who were hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program, according to the release, is part of the state’s plan to spend $4 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding that was signed into law in December 2021. The new program will grant $50 million to businesses reaching underserved markets, and owned by minorities, women, and veterans. The program also has earmarked an additional $50 million for businesses that previously did not qualify for the program.

To date, the growth capital corporation has doled out $705 million to more than 15,000 small businesses in the state.

“We have been proud to support small businesses in every corner of the Commonwealth through the MGCC small business program during the pandemic, but we know that some challenges remain for many businesses,” Baker said. “With the launch of this new effort, we can build on MGCC’s successful work and direct important federal funding to those businesses with the greatest need quickly and effectively.”

The program will spend the $75 million on small businesses that have between two and 50 employees, with $25 million going to businesses who did not quality for grants in 2020 due to a lack of revenue loss.

The grants will be in the range of $10,000 to $75,000 with a cap of $75,000 or three months of operating expenses and can be used for employee and benefit costs, mortgage and rent, utilities, and interest on debt.

The program, Baker said, will prioritize applications from those businesses who did not qualify for prior funding. The businesses must show revenue from 2020 between $40,000 and $2.5 million.

To qualify for the new grant program, businesses must not have previously received aid from the state, did not qualify for previous grants due to a lack of revenue loss in 2020, and must be in an area negatively impacted by COVID-19.

To qualifying for the grant program, businesses must be minority-, woman-, veteran-, disability-, or LGBTQ+-owned, and reaching markets made up of predominantly and historically unrepresented groups or underserved markets.

Both programs are now open and applications can be found at empoweringsmallbusinees.org. The state anticipates sending out grant funding in late April or early May.

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