Webinars highlight grants to help small businesses during COVID-19

Webinars were recently co-sponsored by Council members Natalyn Archibong, Marci Collier Overstreet, Dustin Hillis, and Carla Smith.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced so many aspects of people’s lives to be reconfigured and small business ownership is no exception. As part of grant funding programs recently launched by the City of Atlanta and administered by Invest Atlanta, several members of the Atlanta City Council recently co-sponsored webinars highlighting how small business can get the support they need amid the pandemic.

The grant dollars are available as part of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized by the Atlanta City Council, as well as philanthropic and community donations.

The largest grant program is the Resurgence Grant Fund, which offers up to $40,000 in funding, as well as $10,000 in technical assistance. The fund was created to help address the negative economic impact that has resulted from COVID-19 and to assist business in moving forward in this environment.

Additionally, the technical assistance component of the grant aims to provide funding for measures such as updating a website or receiving legal support as business models start to change and adapt.

District 5 Council member Natalyn Archibong co-sponsored the first webinar with Invest Atlanta on July 30 to highlight the importance of the funds.

“There’s a commitment to be as safe and careful as possible while being supportive to our businesses. We want to keep those assets and resources that make our communities great places to live and we do so by continuing to support them within these public health constraints,” Archibong said.

District 9 Council member Dustin Hillis hosted the second webinar on August 4 and noted how the funds could help uplift the community.

“So many businesses are finding it hard to maintain their normal profit margins, so they’ve been particularly interested to see what support is available to them. They’re trying to come up with innovative ways to stay afloat, but I know there have been layoffs and reduced hours for businesses across our city,” Hillis said. “These funds can really help our small businesses adapt to this new reality and hopefully assist them in bringing back employees and getting back closer to their normal business model.”

To apply and receive funding as part of the Resurgence Grant, you need to have a current City of Atlanta business license. You must also have been in business since March 1, 2019 and had less than 250 employees as of March 1, 2020. Additionally, it’s important to indicate on your grant application the ways that you’ve encountered a business disruption as a result of COVID-19.

More information about eligibility and application requirements is available on Invest Atlanta’s website.

As part of these ongoing efforts, the Strength in Beauty program is also available to certain eligible businesses. This program centers on cosmetology professionals living and/or working in Atlanta with a current cosmetology license who have suffered a loss as a result of COVID-19. These industries have been hit hard because of the difficultly in setting up socially distance procedures for activities such as getting haircuts or manicure and pedicures. This fund offers $1,000 in grant funding to help with needs such as rent and utilities for these businesses.

Additionally, the creATL relief grant is available for creative industry workers in the city. This fund aims to help freelance and independent workers in industries such as film, music, and entertainment through support for essential obligations like groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, and medical expenses.

Council member Marci Collier Overstreet co-sponsored the next webinar with Invest Atlanta on August 5.

“Our restaurants, barbershops, hair salons and other local businesses are really what makes Atlanta so special. Because of this pandemic, we’ve seen so many of our businesses that are typically bustling have to close their doors. There’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty out there and people really want to know what kind of relief is available, so it’s been great to be able to work together and highlight these funds that can really help serve as a lifeline to our small business owners,” Overstreet said. I’ve also been a longtime advocate for our local arts and artists, so I’m grateful to see the creATL aspect of this initiative. The $22 million allocated for these grants will help our creative community and all small business entrepreneurs experiencing hardships due to COVID-19.”

District 1 Council member Carla Smith served as co-sponsor for the final Council member webinar, which was hosted on August 12.

“I am proud to see our city leaders come together to support small businesses during these challenging times. The Resurgence Grant Program, funded through the CARES Act, will provide small businesses much-needed resources to adapt to the realities of operating in COVID-19 and help them continue to provide jobs and services in our communities. I enjoyed joining Invest Atlanta in their recent webinar about the Resurgence program to make sure our constituents know how to take advantage of these funds,” Smith said.

Information from the Atlanta City Council