Howard County has extended the HoCo RISE Business Grants deadline to Tuesday, June 30, 2020 for all three grant programs. The Storefront Retail grant now has an expanded list of eligible businesses to include other types of storefront service providers that were forced to close or operate at limited capacity. This includes, but is not limited to, fitness facilities, fine art studios, dry cleaners, and other service providers. Applications will remain open until Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm. All HoCo RISE Business Grant updates can be found at:  www.hceda.org/c19grants. Grants are expected to be distributed by mid-July.

“As our process has evolved, we’re pleased that we’re able to extend this grant opportunity to more Howard County businesses to assist them with responding to the pandemic,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “As we adjust to our new normal, there will be additional costs of doing business to keep employees and customers safe. These grants address immediate needs and ensure businesses have the funds, resources, and support to adapt to these changes.”

Further Grant eligibility expansions include:

  • Farmers are not required to have an Activity Code in their tax documentation;
  • Bar-restaurants classified as Drinking Places by their activity code may now apply for the Restaurant Grant;
  • The Business Formation Date requirement has been changed from June 1, 2019 or earlier, to December 31, 2019 or earlier; and
  • Qualifying locally-owned franchisees are now eligible to receive a grant for one of their Howard County franchise locations.

The expanded business activity eligibility list is accessible here: http://www.hceda.org/wp-content/uploads/Business-Activity-Code-Identification-and-Grant-Requirements.pdf

“The goal of these grant programs has always been to provide assistance to those businesses most impacted by COVID-19,” said Larry Twele, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. “We now have an opportunity to widen the scope of this assistance and help an even greater variety of businesses as they cope with the challenges they face in reopening and reequipping.’

About HoCo Rise Business Relief Grants

The $5.7 million in Business Relief Grants provide financial assistance to businesses in targeted sectors that have been most impacted by COVID-19 and plan to re-open.

The business grants include:

  • Storefront Retail Assistance Program, providing $2.7 million to locally-owned, small retailers, and service merchants in commercial space who have been forced to close because of the Governor’s non-essential business order.
  • An Agriculture Assistance Program, providing $800,000 in total grant assistance to support local, full or part-time farms affected by the decreased demand by local restaurants as well as a drastic decline in commodity prices.
  • A Restaurant Assistance Program, providing $2.0 million to locally-owned restaurants for support for accommodations required to re-open outdoor or indoor service and customer access.

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Scott E