State launches COVID-19 relief initiatives

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Gov. Eric Holcomb today announced multiple new economic recovery initiatives designed to bolster state COVID-19 relief efforts.

Through these initiatives, the state will allocate nearly $44 million to provide support, including approximately $37 million in direct funding through grants and investments to small businesses and manufacturers. The state planned to use federal relief funds allotted from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act to help fund the initiatives.

One of the initiatives, the Small Business Restart Fund consists of $30 million in federal funding made available through the CARES Act to assist small businesses. The fund will provide grants, helping them financially recover by providing capital to cover expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indiana small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and $5 million in annual revenue that report a 40 percent drop in revenue will be eligible to be reimbursed for up to 80 percent of qualified expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, lease payments or personal protective equipment.

Small businesses that report a revenue loss of at least 40 percent will be eligible for up to $2,500 in grants each month while small businesses that report a revenue loss of at least 80 percent will eligible for up to $5,000 each month. Of the $30 million allocated to the fund, at least $5 million will be reserved for certified minority- and women-owned businesses. The fund was scheduled to launch next week.

The fund is intended for businesses that cannot secure funds from a Paycheck Protection Program loan under the CARES Act.

According to the state officials, 104,335 small businesses that employ fewer than 150 associates operate in Indiana, supporting 941,578 total Hoosiers.

The Indiana Small Business Development Center received nearly $3.7 million in federal funds through the CARES Act to support increased services for Indiana businesses. Services are expected to focus on financial assistance, e-commerce, business adaptation and innovation, disaster resiliency and planning, and reopening plans. Services will be delivered through the center’s 10 regional offices, according to state officials.

In addition, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. recently approved $10 million in funding to launch the Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement, or EASE, program, to begin three initiatives to support advancements in the manufacturing industry. The program is designed to stimulate manufacturing investments through incentives that state officials say will position Hoosier operations, and the sector overall, for future growth by prioritizing startup investment and resources, technology modernization and development, and training assistance.

With more than 8,500 manufacturing facilities and the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., manufacturing accounts for 27.8 percent of Indiana’s total economic output, according to the governor’s office.

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