GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina has launched a minority small business grant program aimed at providing relief to local businesses during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In an announcement on Friday, Gov. McMaster said “small businesses are the lifeblood of South Carolina’s economy, and many small businesses have been financially devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.” He said these grants, through the CARES Act, will provide financial reimbursement to the state’s small businesses and nonprofits for coronavirus-related financial or operational impacts.
The online application process for both grants opened on Monday.
Owner of the Turning Page Book Shop in Goose Creek is among some of the local businesses who will be apply for the grant funding.
“We are the best book shop in the state of South Carolina,” said Valinda Miller of her business.
Miller opened job in June of 2019.
“All types of genre, not just African-American or non-fiction; we have a kid’s room, we have a murder mystery room, we serve wine – we don’t sell it, coffee, tea.”
Last year, business was growing… and then COVID-19 happened.
“We’re doing okay. We could be better, because last year we were doing well, this year has been pretty rough,” she said.
They had to close the shop for four to five weeks in the spring.
“Which means we had no sales. My manager is also my best friend, she wasn’t working, she didn’t take unemployment, because she said I can work,” she said. “Our sales went down. From last year our sales went down 63%.”
Governor Henry McMaster announced tens of millions of dollars in CARES Act funding, specifically geared toward minority in small businesses in the state.
Businesses have to employ fewer than 25 people and they can be eligible to receive grant money of $2,500-$25,000 to cover COVID-related expenses. Nonprofit organizations can also apply.
We told Miller the state is accepting applications beginning Monday. “Oh, I’m gonna jump on the computer and fill that application out,” she said. “I want to tell him thank you.”
Representative Wendell Gaillard held a virtual seminar regarding the CARES Act funding on Zoom Monday. Miller joined the Zoom to learn more about the grant. You can watch it below.
“We want to make sure that we get the right information out at the right time,” he said.
Applications will be open from now until November 1st.
The Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program will reimburse qualified recipients from $2,500 to $25,000. To qualify, minority and small businesses must employ 25 or fewer employees and be physically located in South Carolina. A full list of grant eligibility requirements can be found here.
The Nonprofit Relief Grant Program will reimburse qualified recipients from $2,500 to $50,000. To qualify, nonprofits must be designated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by the Internal Revenue Service, be registered as a public charity with the South Carolina Secretary of State, and be physically located in South Carolina. A full list of grant eligibility requirements can be found on accelerateSC’s website here.