The first funding from the Federal CARES Act is resulting in the immediate expansion of a program to help small businesses throughout Osceola County, including the cities of Kissimmee and St. Cloud.
With approximately a $3.2 million allocation, Osceola County will make the funds available through www.weveopenedsafely.com beginning Monday, June 29, 2020. Based on estimates the assistance will expand the program sevenfold.
“Supporting our small businesses during this pandemic is an important part of our recovery efforts,” said Osceola Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer. “I’m pleased that we are prepared to handle these funds and to take applications that will immediately benefit the many people who have sustained crushing blows to their livelihoods because of the Coronavirus. These funds will help our businesses heal and that in turn will help our residents recover.”
The new funds allows the program to assist home-based business for the first time.
The one-time grant will provide critical support to help offset a portion of lost revenue during the global pandemic, as well as, costs incurred in resuming operations while ensuring guest and staff safety. Eligible businesses may receive emergency funding based on evidence of eligible expenses as follows:
• Up to $2,500 for home based businesses
• Up to $5,000 for all businesses with 2-25 employees
• Up to $10,000 for businesses with 26 or more employees
Initially funded with $500,000 set aside for economic development, Osceola County’s program was open only to businesses in unincorporated parts of the County. The new funds are available to businesses in both Kissimmee and St. Cloud.
Applications will continue to be processed in the order they are received while funds last. This is a grant, not a loan, therefore repayment is not required unless funds are not used for eligible expenses.
To receive funding through this program, applicants must provide evidence of eligible expenses incurred during the period of February 1 and May 31, 2020. Eligible uses include the following:
• Commercial rent or mortgage payments
• Investments in materials or equipment necessary for reopening or operating during social distancing mandates such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), barriers, etc.
Criteria and needed documents can be found on www.weveopenedsafely.com. Eligible businesses will be notified via email within two business days of receipt of the application, confirming receipt of the application and all supporting documents, and whether or not the application is considered complete.
The application deadline with all supporting documents is Monday, July 27 at 5 p.m. Applicants will be notified of grant approval status via email no later than Monday, August 10.
For questions, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.