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

Posted by: Lydia Kirschner  | Monday, June 29, 2020 3:35 am

STATEHOUSE (June 29, 2020) – As Indiana continues to get back on track, State Rep. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) said the state is dedicating nearly $44 million in federal funds to help small businesses and manufacturers impacted by COVID-19.

"Local small businesses are staples in our community and keep our economy going," Saunders said. "Unfortunately, many are struggling to get by because of the impacts of the coronavirus. This funding could help them remain open and weather the storm."

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. Saunders 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 Saunders, 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 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. Saunders 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.

"Indiana is slowly getting back on track with more businesses beginning to open at higher capacities," Saunders said. "While this is a step in the right direction, these businesses are now facing added costs to prioritize the health of their employees and the public. Easing some of their financial burdens will help our economy continue to get back to normal."

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. approved $10 million to launch the Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement program, which Saunders 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."

Saunders 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. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) represents House District 54,

which includes Henry County and portions of Rush and Wayne counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.