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May 13, 2020

$375K added to Hartford’s COVID-19 small biz relief fund

HBJ Photo | Joe Cooper Downtown Hartford.

A COVID-19 small business relief program in Hartford is being expanded after more than 300 applicants sought funds in the last week or so, officials say.

The city of Hartford, property-casualty insurer Travelers Cos. and Bank of America on Tuesday announced they would each commit grants of $125,000, or a total of $375,000, to the so-called Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, which was initially seeded with $1 million.

The program was established last month through a partnership between the city, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, HEDCO Inc. and Capital for Change in an effort to provide at least 100 small Hartford businesses with grants between $5,000 to $10,000 for lease, mortgage, salary, vendor or tax payments, among other eligible expenses. 

The additional $375,000 in grants will allow the program to support another 75 or so applicants, organizers said. The Hartford Foundation and the city say they are seeking additional funds to support businesses left out of the first funding round.

More than 300 online applications have been submitted since May 4, officials say. The application period has closed and the majority of grants are expected to be awarded on or before May 22, they added.

The program, administered by Capital For Change, is focused on supporting minority-owned businesses and others in low-income neighborhoods lacking access to federal or state COVID-19-related financial relief.

“We are trying to get as much grant funding to our neighborhood small businesses as possible, and we are very grateful to Bank of America and Travelers for their generous contributions to our Small Business Emergency Grant Program,” Mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement.

The program requires eligible businesses to be located in the city, provide at least one federal tax return and have positive revenues not exceeding $500,000 for the submitted tax years. Principal owners of multiple businesses will only be eligible for one grant, officials say.

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