BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration launched a $668 million program on Wednesday to provide financial assistance to Massachusetts small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program relies in part on the pending federal COVID-19 relief bill recently passed by the U.S. Congress. Regardless of the developments at the federal level, the Baker-Polito administration will start releasing millions in new funding to restaurants, retailers, and other small businesses throughout the Commonwealth as soon as next week.
Earlier this week, the administration announced nearly $49 million in grants through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp. (MGCC) COVID-19 Small Business Program to support more than 1,158 small businesses. More than 10,000 applicants had sought relief in this grant round.
Additional grants will be made available to eligible small businesses through MGCC. The Small Business Grant Program was established in the fall and currently has a pool of eligible applicants awaiting funding. This additional funding will allow the administration to award more of those pending applicants. Eligible businesses that already applied to the program, but were not funded due to limited funds available, will be prioritized for funding first and do not need to reapply.
The funds will also be used to stand up an additional grant program at MGCC. This program will target the industries most hard-hit during the pandemic. Eligible industries for the new program include restaurants, bars, and caterers; indoor recreation and entertainment establishments; gyms and fitness centers; event-support professionals (photographers, videographers, etc.); personal services; and retail.
The new business relief program would offer grants up to $75,000, but not more than three months’ operating expenses, to be used for employee wage and benefit costs, space-related costs, and debt-service obligations.
The online application portal for the new program will open on Thursday, Dec. 31, and will close on Friday, Jan. 15. Awards are expected to be announced in early February. More details on how to apply, as well as eligibility requirements, are available at www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org.