Gov. Tim Walz Tuesday announced the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is now accepting applications for the $62.5 million Small Business Relief Grants Program for businesses impacted by COVID-19, which he signed into law last week.

“COVID-19 has brought historic challenges for our small business owners,” said Walz. "This program is a result of bipartisan collaboration and conversations with the communities most impacted by this pandemic. I encourage our small business owners to apply for this funding, which will provide a lifeline for our communities and help Minnesota build a stronger and more equitable economy.”

Eligible businesses with 50 or fewer employees may apply for grants of up to $10,000. The money will be evenly distributed between businesses in Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro, with at least $10 million to go to minority-owned businesses, $2.5 million to veteran-owned businesses, and $2.5 million to women-owned businesses.

“Minnesota’s small business owners deserve support through this unprecedented time,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “I’m proud of this program to support our historically under-supported communities, including our business owners who are women, veterans, Black, Indigenous, and people of color. But we have a lot of work left to do to rebuild our communities.”

An additional $2.5 million is allocated by law for grants of up to $250,000 each to operators of cultural malls to maintain existing tenants. This will be a separate application process, and DEED will provide more information this week at mn.gov/deed/relief.

“Small businesses across Minnesota are facing extraordinary challenges,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “We’re working with community organizations across the state to get as many businesses into the lottery for these grants as we possibly can. And the categories for special inclusion that came from this bipartisan legislation will ensure we help a broad section of businesses that need it most.”

The application period will be open for 10 days, the maximum time allowed by the law, and will close at 5 p.m. July 2. A randomized, computer-generated lottery process will be used – in consultation with the Minnesota Lottery and observed by an independent third party – to select eligible businesses that will receive awards.

All awards will be administered by qualified local and regionally based nonprofit agencies, and the grant funds can be used to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar business expenses.

The online application and additional information are now available at mn.gov/deed/relief.

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