Arlington County has created the Arlington Small Business Emergency GRANT (Giving Resiliency Assets Near Term) Program, to provide immediate financial assistance to Arlington’s small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The GRANT program is designed to bridge the gap to provide near–term relief for businesses, some of whom have experienced delays or limitations with Federal relief initiatives. The program was approved during a County Board budget work session Thursday, April 16.
“Small businesses contribute to the character of our community,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “What’s more – they are a vital component of our community’s economic health. More than 90 percent of our businesses are small businesses – and right now, they need our help more than ever before.”
The GRANT Program would provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses and non-profits with less than 50 employees. Businesses may use the grants for employee salary and benefits as well as for other business capital and operating expenses directly related to the immediate impacts of COVID-19. Funding for the program is being reallocated from existing grant funds in the FY2020 budget.
“This pandemic has been truly devastating to the Arlington business community, particularly our customer-facing small businesses,” said Arlington Economic Development Director Telly Tucker, who reported that more than 9 out of 10 small businesses called the pandemic extremely or very disruptive to business operations. “In our outreach to our business community, we’ve heard that access to financial assistance was what they needed more than anything. We’re hoping these funds can bridge the gap for businesses and help them stay afloat during this challenging time.”
Eligibility and Applications Process
Eligible businesses and non-profits are those located in Arlington County with fewer than 50 employees that can demonstrate revenue losses of 35 percent or more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications will be evaluated through a competitive process involving a weighted scoring system, looking at considerations like the number of jobs retained or supported with funds, length of time the business has operated in Arlington, whether it is women and/or minority-owned, demonstrated need, and how the funds will be used. Applications for Federal programs will not impact County GRANT eligibility. The goal is to have the application process up and running in early May.
Effect on Arlington Business Community
Preliminary surveys conducted by AED in the early weeks of the pandemic indicated that across all sectors, more than 90 percent of Arlington’s small businesses said COVID-19 is extremely or very disruptive to business operations. While the pandemic is impacting numerous segments of the Arlington business community, it is particularly difficult for those that are customer-facing, specifically small retail, hospitality and personal services businesses, which have reported significant sales declines as well as employee layoffs.
Arlington Economic Development has compiled additional resources and is conducting various webinars to help businesses navigate the pandemic and various relief efforts. Visit arlingtoneconomicdevelopment.com/covid-19 to see resources available and learn about Arlington businesses offering online services and special offers.