Grant funding may be available to assist Washington business owners expand their businesses.
The Small Business and Entrepreneurial Assistance grant program, sponsored by Community Investment and Assistance Division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, is designed to assist local governments that are in the process of developing a coordinated effort to support and grow their communities’ existing small businesses. These grants are expected to help create and retain jobs within the state’s most economically distressed communities. The purposes of SBEA grants are to provide funding to local governments to jumpstart growth of existing businesses, create new jobs, retain existing jobs and to develop plans for creating an entrepreneurial environment in the community.
Each business must:
- be located in the City of Washington;
- employ a minimum of one person and less than 100 people;
- be operating for a minimum of two years. Program was design specifically for existing businesses;
- plan to expand by increasing the number full-time employees (defined as 1,600 hours) over the next two years;
- 70 percent of all jobs created must go toward creating or retaining jobs for low- to moderate-income persons;
- businesses previously located outside of the local government boundaries (another town, county, state and the like) are not eligible to participate.
The City of Washington, in an effort to support entrepreneurial activity, is identifying small businesses ready to hire additional full-time people but in need of funding to make this possible. The minimum grant award is $150,000. The maximum grant award is $250,000 (or $25,000 per job).
Examples of activities that may be eligible under this program include:
- infrastructure improvements (water, sewer, roads);
- purchase of land;
- construction of a building or other improvements;
- renovation of an existing building to accommodate the business;
- construction of tenant improvements/finishes;
- leasing space in or purchasing an existing building;
- purchasing capital equipment;
- providing job training that can be linked to specific jobs at a specific firm.
Examples of ineligible activities include:
- revolving loan funds;
- incubator projects for start-up businesses;
- job training that cannot be linked to a specific job at a specific firm.
In order to be eligible for funding, businesses must submit the following:
- business plan, two years minimum;
- project summary; intended use of funds and explanation;
- financial statements, covering the most recent two full years and projections for the next two years.
Company financial information cannot be held confidential or returned unless specific documentation is provided by the firm to support the “trade secret” status as defined in NC G.S. 66-152(2) and NC G.S. 132-1.2.
In addition, each business must:
- execute a legally binding commitment with the City of Washington/N.C. Department of Commerce guaranteeing job creation goals are met;
- execute a limited waiver of confidentiality for unemployment, tax and wage records (authorizes disclosure of certain information contained in the company’s quarterly unemployment insurance tax records filed with the North Carolina Division of Employment Security);
- execute a private company commitment form, guaranteeing that quarterly reports will be submitted and that the company agrees to either screen all applications and hires for the required employee statistical information and the required documentation or to allow DES to perform these functions on its behalf;
- after grant funds are awarded, companies will be required to perform an environmental review as part of the release of conditions process after the grant agreement and funding approval have been issued.
Businesses interested in learning more about the program should contact the City of Washington’s Planning and Development Department no later than March 5 at 252-975-9383 and speak with Bianca Shoneman or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.