NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce has approved 192 Hospitality, Retail & Service grant requests to businesses located in New Hanover County, totaling an investment of $4,212,112. The investment in these businesses will help offset the more than $65 million in lost revenue due to COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions on business. Grant awardees represent as many as 3,700 local employees.
The Hospitality, Retail & Service grant was announced in July as part of New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington’s initiative to direct $4.5 million in funding allocated through the Federal Government’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) to areas the community had recognized as priorities. The Hospitality, Retail & Service Grant was created to provide one-time grants to local businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 650 businesses applied, and 192 businesses met all qualifications for the grant. The county will be funding 106 companies with $2.3 million and the city will be funding 86 companies with $1.9 million.
“Our small businesses have suffered during the pandemic and need help to recover,” said New Hanover County Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington are placing an emphasis on helping local business owners with cash they need to provide jobs and jumpstart our economy. This is now the second time New Hanover County has appropriated federal relief dollars to provide a lifeline to our local businesses after we committed $1.3 million in CARES Act funds last year for small businesses. I appreciate the city’s partnership, which made this assistance program go so much farther and I appreciate the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce stepping up to administer the program.”
Investing in hospitality and tourism is one way to promote economic recovery and economic development. Supporting these hardest-hit industries helps our community move forward faster. Of the 192 grant awardees, 136 are businesses owned by minorities, women, or veterans.
City of Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said, “Wilmington small business owners and their employees are vital to Wilmington’s economy and have endured enormous challenges over the course of the pandemic. That is why the City of Wilmington together with New Hanover County made small business relief a priority for our American Rescue Plan funds. With the assistance of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, we are quickly and equitably putting millions back into the hands of local small businesses to support a broad-based economic recovery.”
Wilmington Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Natalie English said, “I’m so proud of the collaborative efforts from New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington to help our businesses recover quickly and reposition themselves for growth. We know our hospitality, retail, and service-based businesses are a critical component of our local economy. New Hanover County will be stronger for this important grant investment that will save and create new jobs.”
Additional information about the grant awardees can be found on the Chamber’s website here.