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Manchester relaunched its fund for small businesses affected by COVID. Here’s how to apply.

Allegra Boverman

The American Rescue Plan infused the city’s assistance program with $21.6 million. A portion of the funds will be allocated to a grant that wants to engage more minorities and women this year.

Manchester is bringing back a grant and assistance program created in 2020 to assist the recovery of the city’s small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Eligible businesses can now apply for the fund, which functions as reimbursable funding up to $10,000.

The grant can cover fixed business costs, including rent, utilities, and payroll accrued during the pandemic, costs associated with transitioning to e-commerce business platforms, outdoor space upgrades and loss of perishable inventory.

This is what you should know before applying.

  • Businesses need a physical establishment within the City of Manchester. You can check the application map to verify if you qualifiy. 
  • Businesses should employ no more than 15 full-time employees.  
  • You should document a loss of revenue of 25% or more due to COVID-19.
  • Must have invoices, payroll records, time records, and vouchers.
  • Your business should have less than $2,000,000 in gross annual receipts.
  • To apply, the city prefers businesses that had to close temporarily due to the stay-at-home order, like hair salons or childcare centers. 

In addition to receiving more funds, the organizers encourage women and minority-owned businesses to apply. Deo Mwano, who is in charge of outreach and counseling for applicants, says these groups are usually left behind.

He has been working since 2020 to include Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the city's relief plan. “I interviewed with business owners to make sure we allocate resources equitably and inclusively,” he said. According to Mwano, 65 percent of the people who received the grant last year were BIPOC.

Mwano has a team that can reach people in five languages and videos on how to apply and what tools to use.

Last year, 53 businesses received help, 16 jobs were created, and 38 employees were retained. This year Mwano’s consulting group has around 200 companies on their radar that will start contacting this week.

“It is a mix of businesses, from bodegas to insurance companies. It is a diverse population that deserves to be treated with dignity,” said Mwano.

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.

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