WABASH — On behalf of the Wabash County Commissioners and community partners, Grow Wabash County is excited to announce a new grant opportunity available for small, for-profit businesses in Wabash County.
Grow Wabash County will grant out nearly $200,000 in business grants made possible by $160,000 of grant funding awarded from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) COVID-19 Phase II Response Program, coupled with $40,000 committed to the grant program by the Wabash County Commissioners.
The primary goal for these grants will be to help high-risk businesses with long-term recovery efforts after COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions that led to shutdowns and layoffs in many workplaces. These funds will focus on helping businesses retain low- to middle-income (LMI) jobs. Grants will be awarded out in the amounts of $2,000 to $10,000 per qualifying business, based on employee counts and community impact. Grant funding can be used for working capital, continued operations and/or to support remote work.
These grants are available to for-profit, small businesses (100 employees or less) and micro enterprises (five employers or less, one must be the owner) within Wabash County. Applicants must not have been previously granted funds from OCRA Phase I grants from the City of Wabash or the Town of North Manchester. Collectively, the batch of business applicants must have 51% or more LMI employees in order for the grant funding to be awarded. Therefore, businesses may be eliminated if the majority LMI requirement is not met.
Applications will be available online (or via a paper version upon request) starting on Sept. 14 via the Grow Wabash County website. Businesses must have their applications completed and submitted by Oct. 2. Along with the grant application outlining their need for support, business owners will also need to submit a survey for each employee to provide employee initials, position title and annual salary.
This inter-jurisdictional collaborative effort consists of partners from Wabash County, the City of Wabash, and the Towns of Roann, Lagro, LaFontaine and North Manchester. The three Wabash County Main Street organizations (Roann Main Street, Manchester Alive and Wabash Marketplace) and the county-wide chamber and economic organization, Grow Wabash County have also partnered.
“Wabash County has worked hard to provide support and to reopen our local businesses that have experienced low revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Keith Gillenwater, president and CEO of Grow Wabash County, said. “Partnerships with organizations like OCRA have been crucial during this time and shows that we are all working toward the same goal: to help our businesses weather the storm and come out on the other side ready and equipped to rebuild and continue our forward momentum.”