Kirchhofer: Grants, resources available to support small businesses during pandemic

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Tuesday, June 23, 2020 11:31 am

STATEHOUSE (June 23, 2020) – As Indiana continues to get back on track, State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) said the state is dedicating nearly $44 million in federal funds to help small businesses and manufacturers impacted by COVID-19.

"Small businesses are a key part of our communities," Kirchhofer said. "Before the pandemic, we counted on small businesses for jobs, goods and services, and support for local events. Now they are counting on us as many open their doors to the public for the first time in months."

Through the federal CARES Act, $30 million has been dedicated to the Small Business Restart Fund. Hoosier small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and $5 million in annual revenue that experienced at least a 40% drop in revenue can apply for grants to cover expenses related to the public health crisis. Kirchhofer said these expenses may include rent or mortgage payments, lease payments for real or personal property, utilities and safety investments like personal protective equipment and infrastructure improvements to keep employees and customers safe. According to Kirchhofer, at least $5 million will be reserved for certified minority- and women-owned businesses. The deadline to apply for a grant is Sept. 30. For more information on this program, including additional eligibility requirements, visit backontrack.in.gov.

The state is also partnering with the Indiana Black Expo to expand COVID-19 workforce recovery efforts through education, community outreach and new programming, according to Kirchhofer. In addition to dedicating at least $5 million of the Small Business Restart Fund to minority- and women-owned businesses, $500,000 will be available to increase support for minority-owned businesses, entrepreneurs and communities impacted by COVID-19.

"The Eastside is home to many black- and minority-owned businesses, and they deserve our community's support," Kirchhofer said. "We know that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts black Hoosiers, and we are committed to ensuring every individual has the opportunity to bounce back from this pandemic. These funds will help protect jobs, keep businesses open to customers and jump-start our economy."

The Indiana Small Business Development Center will utilize nearly $3.7 million over the next 18 months to offer increased resources for Hoosier entrepreneurs and small businesses. Kirchhofer said this funding will help provide no-cost services like counseling and training for local businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit isbdc.org/indianacovid19smallbusiness for more information.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. approved $10 million to launch the Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement program, which Kirchhofer said will support technology and operational advancements in the manufacturing industry. Through this program, local manufacturers will be able to apply for support through the Smart & Advanced Manufacturing Focus Fund to invest in new developments. Manufacturing Readiness Grants will be available in July to companies committed to modernizing their operations or those investing in health care manufacturing technology. Additionally, a Smart Manufacturing Studio is being developed to provide lab space and access to state-of-the-art equipment to businesses so they can train employees, validate technologies and conduct third-party pilot manufacturing. More information can be found by visiting iedc.in.gov and searching "Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement."

Kirchhofer said these resources are in addition to the Indiana Small Business PPE Marketplace, which currently provides masks, hand sanitizer and face shields to Hoosier small businesses at no cost. Visit backontrack.in.gov/ppemarketplace.htm for details.

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State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) represents House District 89,
which includes portions of Marion County.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.