ROCKFORD (WREX) — The future may look daunting for many small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the City of Belvidere is hoping to help small businesses stay open for years to come through a new grant.
“This is the first since COVID that we had a grant program that was directly cash related to small business,” said Belvidere Mayor Mike Chamberlain.
The Back to Business in Belvidere Grant is bringing $350,000 to Belvidere. Each business could apply for up to $25,000.
The deadline to apply is Dec. 15. The city says the reason for the quick application process is because it just received confirmation on the state’s grant total and it hopes to get that money in the hands of business owners by the end of the year.
Mayor Chamberlain says the grant is a lifeline for so many mom and pop shops. He says the success of those businesses are a part what makes Belvidere a lively and vibrant community.
“We don’t want them to be afraid of the grant process. A lot of times, they hear about a grant application and they’re scared of those processes. I know some of the state grants can be so overwhelming and time-consuming and we’re not trying to make it that way. We ‘re trying to make it as simple as possible,” said City of Belvidere Finance Director Becky Tobin.
A business must meet the following in order to apply: located in the City of Belvidere, make less than $2.5 million in annual revenue, opened before Jan. 1 of 2020, show evidence of negative business financial impact due to the pandemic, expected to be fully open after the COVID-19 restrictions lift.
For more information, including how to apply, click here.