FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, September 17, 2020 Press Office: 768-5768
PRESS RELEASEMAYOR KIRK CALDWELLOFFICE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTCITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
HONOLULU – The City and County of Honolulu will add another $75 million to the Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund (SBRRF) to help local businesses persevere through the difficult COVID-19 crisis. “The SBRRF is our primary tool for helping small businesses stay afloat while we work as a community to beat back COVID-19,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “To better meet the needs of those businesses that are suffering greatly during this pandemic, we are adapting this program with the input of community members. I am grateful to our local partner credit unions for administering this small business program. They have worked together with the City, local businesses, and neighbors in the fight against COVID-19.” Since the launch of the SBRRF in May, it has distributed more than $50 million to over 5,500 small businesses. After the first tranche of $25 million was exhausted, another $25 million was added in mid-June. At that time, the program was expanded to add farmers and the threshold for qualifying businesses was increased to up to $2 million in gross annual income and 50 or fewer employees to make SBRRF available to more local businesses. “Every day, we hear more heartbreaking stories from local businesses struggling to keep their doors open,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i. “Today’s expansion of the Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund comes at a critical time—for many, all other options have been exhausted. Whether they are applying for the first time or for additional funding, this grant will help to bridge the gap as we seek to stabilize local businesses and begin economic recovery. Mahalo to Mayor Caldwell for continuing to engage with the business community. The only way we will ensure the survival of Hawai‘i’s business community is by working together.” The city partnered with four local credit unions to review applications and distribute up to $10,000 in reimbursable grants to qualifying businesses. Throughout the program’s life, the applicant pool and prevailing economic conditions have been monitored and changes made accordingly. In early August, a decision was made to allow previous applicants to apply again if they had not qualified for or received the full $10,000 grant. At the same time, 871 small business commercial fishermen were added to the eligible applicant pool. An additional $10 million was added to the program to support these two additions. Level A and Level B for Eligible Small Businesses The program and its impact were reviewed and assessed with inputs from the community, chambers of commerce, and advisory groups. Responding to these inputs, the program now has two levels. Level A will allow businesses that already received a SBRRF grant to reapply for an additional reimbursable grant of up to $20,000. For example, a business that received $8,000 in the first reimbursement is eligible for as much as $12,000 in the second reimbursement. The same limitations will apply: Businesses cannot apply for costs already covered by another federally funded program such as the CARES Act, Paycheck Protection Plan, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and others. The SBRRF website on OneOahu.org will close for applications today to transition to the new protocol. Businesses with up to $2 million in annual revenue may start applying on Monday, September 21 at noon when the website reopens. Level B expands eligibility to qualified businesses with $2 million to $5 million in annual revenue and increases the maximum reimbursable grant up to $50,000. Businesses can apply for Level B on OneOahu.org starting October 1. For more information on qualifications and application requirements, visit OneOahu.org.
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