Small business, nonprofit relief requests exceed available funding in South Carolina


More than 11,200 establishments have requested $290 million in relief to reimburse them COVID-19-related expenses in South Carolina’s relief program for small and minority-owned businesses and nonprofits.

The amount of relief funds requested far exceeds the amount of money allocated to the programs. State legislators allocated $40 million earlier this year for the Minority and Small Business Program, and a total of $25 million to the Nonprofit Relief Program. In total, the allocated funds cover less than a quarter of the funds requested.

Both grant funds are eligible to be replenished with unallocated Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds, but no plans to replenish the funds have been announced.

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of our state’s economy and they were hit hard by the pandemic,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “We knew we had to quickly get them the help they need through an easily-accessible program, and I’m happy to say that the results have exceeded our expectations.”

Applications for the program were due Sunday, and applicants will receive notification of whether their grant application was approved early next month. Approved funds will be distributed by mid-December. A total of 9,627 businesses and 1,590 nonprofits applied for relief.

Grant applications for both programs will be reviewed and approved by panels of state officials. Priority will be given to businesses and nonprofits that did not receive other assistance, such as the Paycheck Protection Program loans. Minority and Small Business grants will prioritize minority businesses, businesses with 15 or fewer employees and businesses with the greatest financial need. The Nonprofit Relief Program will prioritize expenditures related to food and utilities assistance, health care and mental and behavioral health services, and funds will be distributed on a statewide basis.

Grant awards will range between $2,500 and $25,000. Businesses may use funds to reimburse expenses for services or alterations because of COVID-19, as well as reimbursement for pandemic-related revenue loss.

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