On Dec. 23, the administration announced a $668 million small business relief package to help the hardest-hit main street and downtown small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants will be administered through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.

On Dec. 21, the administration announced $49 million in first-round grants administered through the MGCC. The Small Business Grant Program, established in the fall, has a pool of applicants awaiting funds due to limited initial funding availability.

The MGCC is continuing to review existing applications and will make awards over the coming weeks to companies that meet demographic and industry preferences. Businesses that have already applied to the MGCC’s Small Business Grant Program do not need to reapply to the new program.

The $668 million package will also be used to set up another grant program administered by the MGCC for businesses that fall into specific industry sectors. Eligible businesses will include some of the hardest-hit industries: restaurants, bars, caterers, indoor recreation and entertainment establishments, gyms and fitness centers, event-support professionals such as photographers, personal services, and retail. For additional details, see Sector-Specific Relief Grant Program for Massachusetts Businesses.

The application period for the new program will run from Dec. 31 through Jan. 15. Applicants will be eligible to receive up to $75,000, but not more than three months of operating expenses.

Businesses that have already submitted complete and accurate applications to the first program and either (a) meet the demographic preferences from the first program or (b) meet the sector-specific preferences from the new program will receive funding.

The demographic preferences are: minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQ+-owned businesses, businesses owned by persons with disabilities, or businesses located in Gateway Cities.

Businesses that have already applied to the MGCC through the first program will be notified of their award status by Jan. 18.

Businesses that have not already applied to the MGCC and choose to apply in the new program will be notified of their award status in February.

The new grant program relied in part on the $900 billion federal stimulus law that was signed on Dec. 27 and grants additional flexibility to states in administering funds.

For more information, including eligibility and how to apply, visit empoweringsmallbusiness.org.

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