NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County has awarded 130 local small businesses with $10,000 each through the county’s Small Business Economic Incentive Grant Program.
The total investment of $1.3 million in local small businesses was officially announced and approved by the Board of Commissioners on June 1, with applications being accepted through June 5. Around 800 businesses applied for the grants program, and 130 businesses were chosen using a random lottery selection.
“New Hanover County supports our businesses, our workforce and our entire community – and this grants program is a reflection of that,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “Investing this money into local entrepreneurs and locally-owned business was the goal of this program, because we know how much they have sacrificed over the past three months. Their business models have had to change, their operations have been severely impacted, but they continue to persevere and weather this pandemic. We wanted to provide them with additional support, and I believe this $1.3 million will have a positive impact now and for the future.”
The awardees represent a cross section of the business community, including bars, restaurants, retail stores, hair and nail salons, small medical outlets, fitness studios, machine shops, print shops, art studios, coffee shops and more. Of the 130 businesses selected, 63 percent are owned by women and minorities in our community.
“That’s 82 minority-and women-owned business being funded, which helps further New Hanover County’s priority to make our community more inclusive and more welcoming to diverse workers and businesses,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet. “The businesses supported by this program will be able to use these funds to continue to employ and hire local residents, pay for additional cleaning and sanitizing supplies, and ensure their operations do all they can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Our intent has been to invest these funds wisely and for the good of the community, and I believe we have done just that.”
The Small Business Grants Program was created utilizing federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the county has utilized third-party administrators to help ensure a fairly-distributed and well-managed process. Wilmington Business Development (WBD) assisted the county in collecting applications and ensuring documentation was complete, and Live Oak Bank is disbursing the funds to the 130 awardees.
The distribution of grant funds to all 130 businesses is expected to take place over the next week. Additional information can be found here.