The Town of Culpeper will receive $850,000 in state Community Development Block Grant money to support small, women and minority-owned businesses that suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from Gov. Ralph Northam’s office.
Paige Read, the town’s director of economic development and tourism, explained via telephone that an application portal will likely be set up around Nov. 1. She said the grant will be locally referred to as the Culpeper Recovers SWaM (small, women and minority) Business Grant.
She explained grant recipients must be locally or regionally owned, have a maximum of 20 employees and provide local or regional services. Additionally, applicants can not use the money to duplicate Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Security Act funding.
The town applied for the grant funding earlier this summer and it was announced Monday that it received the maximum $850,000 award. Culpeper is one of 14 localities that will receive a combined $8.4 million.
Read explained that businesses can receive a maximum of $15,000 through the program. According to information she provided, that includes up to $5,000 for retooling and technology activities. This could include:
- Space and technology upgrades to reopen and conduct business safely, including furniture, barriers, and technology such as laptops, software and touch-free credit card payment systems to accommodate social distancing.
- Job training, classes or technical assistance such as protecting employees and customers from COVID-19; modifying business models; or training for long-term sustainability.
Additionally, up to $10,000 can be used for three to six months of rent relief. For this portion of the grant, the amount awarded to businesses will vary depending on its needs.
Northam states in the release that “our administration remains committed to investing in rural communities during this unprecedented health crisis and as we work to rebuild Virginia’s economy.”
“This funding will go a long way to address the immediate needs of Virginia families and provide relief to small businesses, so they are better prepared for economic growth despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic,” Northam adds.