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Update: The deadline for submitting applications for the first round has been extended until the end of the day on Jan. 13.

Although the county’s small businesses are being hit hard by the rise in COVID-19 cases and the resulting restrictions, more economic relief is on the way.

On Wednesday, California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) began accepting applications for the first round of the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state legislature announced the funding for the program on Nov. 30, which includes an allocation of $500 million for small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by the pandemic.

“Small business owners and our nonprofits serve as the economic heart of every California community,” Newsom said in a press release from the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “This grant program isn’t the end, it’s the beginning. It’s a bridge to help the millions of Californians, whose dreams and livelihoods are now on the line, as we work with the State Legislature to create additional support.”

Instead of being awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, the grants will be awarded following each round of applications. The first round ends at the end of the day on Jan. 8, 2021, and details for the second round will be announced soon.

“Inclusive, equitable relief is fundamental to the small business support developed by this administration,” CalOSBA Director Isabel Guzman said in the release. “This grant program provides that support through a network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) and Community Based Organizations ensuring reach to those highly impacted small businesses in disadvantaged communities, underserved small business groups, and industries disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.”

The program will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Lendistry, a CDFI and Community Development Entity (CDE) small business and commercial real estate lender, has been designated by the state as the intermediary to disburse the funds.

“As an organization dedicated to efficiently providing capital to underserved small businesses, and with a deeply experienced senior management team that mirrors the diversity of our home state of California, Lendistry is proud to partner with the CalOSBA in this bold and critical effort,” Lendistry founder and CEO Everett K. Sands said in the release. “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lendistry has assisted 20,000 small businesses in a dozen states and deployed nearly a half-billion dollars in capital, and we are bringing the full force of our technology, expertise and relationships with partner CDFIs and community organizations to bear on CalOSBA’s landmark commitment to California’s small businesses.”

Industry sectors most impacted by COVID-19 and underserved small business groups served by the state-supported network of small business centers will be given priority. Priority for geographic distribution will be based on COVID-19 health and safety restrictions under California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

“Mission-based lenders and small business advisory and technical assistance providers can help small businesses with the application process in multiple languages and formats,” the release reads. “Many of the state-supported small business centers, which prioritize the expansion of technical assistance to underserved business groups, are also available to help.”

For more information on grant requirements and eligibility, visit careliefgrant.com.

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Reporter

Noah Berner has lived in Calaveras County most of his life, and graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in history.

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