ELKTON — After ironing out the kinks of a 200-plus participant conference call, the Cecil County Economic Development team hosted a virtual town hall Tuesday to share funding opportunities in an attempt to aid local businesses and nonprofits during the economic downturn resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent public shutdown.
Before turning the meeting over to the county team and Cecil County representatives from the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center, Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy ensured the local business community of the support they have in the county.
"We are all here for you, we are all in this together," McCarthy said.
Cecil County, through the use of Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) funds, is offering a COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Micro Grant Program. There is also a Cecil Catalyst COVID-19 Loan Program offered via the Economic Development Office.
The micro grant program aims to aid businesses hit the hardest by COVID-19. Applicants must have 25 or fewer full-time employees, must be in good standing with the state and county, and must be able to demonstrate the economic instability caused by the pandemic. Grants may be used for payroll expenses, rent, mortgages, utility expenses or other ordinary business expenses. The grant is up to $10,000 per business.
The Cecil Catalyst loan, developed for similar purposes to the micro grant, offers up to $75,000 towards working capital to support payroll, rent and mortgage, materials, utilities and other ordinary business expenses. The loans are bestowed at a 3 percent fixed interest rate with interest-only payments during the first year.
The county loan and grant program will be evaluated by a committee.
Applications can be found through the Economic Development Office.
Through the Small Business Administration is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as well as the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
The EIDL offers up to $2 million in financial assistance to small businesses, for-profit and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic hardship due to the pandemic. The EIDL funds are directly administered through the SBA.
The PPP, administered through lenders, offers assistances to those specific needs, such as payroll, for eligible entities with 500 or less employees. Sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons are included under this program. PPP also offers total loan forgiveness if the funds are used for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. The SBA website states that at least 75 percent of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll.
Visit the SBA website for the applications and how to apply for these programs.
Visit cecilbusiness.org for more information on these local, state and federal programs. For more direct information reach out to the Economic Development team or directly to Richard Starr at email@example.com.
Check back with the Cecil Whig for more details on loan and grant programs available through county, state and federal agencies.