New state grant program targets hardest hit businesses

Applications close Jan. 15

BOSTON – The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made an additional $668 million available to support businesses through new and existing programs. These funds were appropriated through the Commonwealth’s Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) as well as the CARES Act of 2020.

Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) will target a portion of these funds to sectors experiencing the most significant economic hardship and a loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including restaurants, indoor recreation or entertainment establishments, gyms or fitness centers, personal services, event support companies and independent retailers.

Applications opened on Dec. 31, 2020, and will close on Jan. 15 at 11:59 p.m.

Business can receive up to $75,000 but capped at up to 3 months of operating expenses, as evidenced by 2019 Federal Tax Returns. Grant amounts will be considered for actual expenses for 2020 during the pandemic. Expenses can be considered since March 10, 2020, given that it does not exceed 3 months of operating expenses evidenced by 2019 Federal Tax Returns.

Approved use of funds include payroll and benefit costs, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and interest on other debt obligations. Non-approved use of funds include major equipment purchases, purchase of real property, construction activities, business expansion, and lobbying. Also, grantees must prevent the duplication of benefits, which means these grant funds may not be used to pay expenses if another source of financial aid has paid that same expense.

This business relief fund targets the hardest hit small businesses that have an exceptional need of cash relief. Though many businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic, not all needs are equal.

Business owners should not apply if their business is not showing an operating loss due to the coronavirus pandemic, has access to other sources of relief; has been able to continue to operate without significant financial distress; has adequate available reserves. Additionally, larger companies that are better positioned to endure this economic downturn and COVID-19 related restrictions should not apply.

An excessive number of applications submitted by businesses with lesser need will delay the awarding of grants to businesses facing extraordinary circumstances. An application review for a company without a truly exceptional need delays assistance for a business at risk of permanent closure.

Preference will be given to the following sectors: Restaurants, bars, caterers, and food trucks that collect and remit meals tax; Indoor Recreation or Entertainment Establishments; Indoor entertainment establishments (e.g. movie theaters, comedy clubs, performing arts venues/organizations); Indoor recreation (e.g. arcades, bowling centers, pool/billiard halls, escape-the-rooms, trampoline parks, roller-skating rinks); Indoor spectator sports venues; Other indoor recreation or entertainment venues.

Other categories are gyms or fitness centers including gyms, athletic clubs, exercise centers, health clubs; sports facilities (e.g. tennis clubs, racquetball clubs, hockey rinks, swimming facilities); fitness instruction centers (e.g. aerobics, dance, yoga, karate, etc.), and other gyms or fitness centers.

Personal Services such as nail salons, barber shops, and independent pharmacies, and event support companies, where the primary source of revenue is more than 50 percent event-related, including photography and videography studios, florists, limo services, event planning companies, event rentals, performers, convention and trade show organizations; and independent brick and mortar retailers that collect and remit sales tax.

Applications must be filled out and submitted along with attachments as stated in “Required Documentation” electronically through MGCC’s online application portal at Hard copies or electronic copies submitted in any other way, such as mailed in or emailed, will not be considered. Only complete, accurate and legible applications will be considered.

After the application period closes on Jan. 15 at midnight, MGCC will review all applications to determine eligibility. MGCC will award and disburse grants based upon eligibility criteria and preference prioritization.

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