Money for MT businesses available NOW, other states to follow suit

by Hannah Stiff | May 12, 2020 3:58:02 PM

Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced last week
that the state will begin doling out $123 million to help Montana businesses,
nonprofits and individuals get back on their feet. The money comes from the
multi-trillion-dollar CARES Act passed by Congress last month.

The state funds are given in grants including
emergency stabilization and innovation grants for both businesses and
nonprofits. Also included in the funding pool is money for health care centers,
emergency housing, public health, telework assistance food bank funds and grants to serve seniors and those living with a disability. 

“Montanans have made it clear it’s imperative that we step in and
do everything possible to ensure small businesses can responsibly reopen,
non-profits continue to serve our vibrant communities, homeowners can stay in
their homes, and Montanans most in-need have access to services,” Bullock said last week. “We’re all in this together and I know Montana will emerge from
this challenge even stronger than before.”

The following is a
quick glimpse of the new business and nonprofit grants available through the
state of Montana. Apply today at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV,
the portal is open!

  • The Montana Business Stabilization Grant program provides
    working capital for Montana-owned small businesses with 50 or fewer employees
    that have lost of revenue due to COVID 19. Current funding available is $50
    million, the maximum award amount per business is $10,000.  

     
  • The Montana Innovation Grant program helps companies scale
    up, improve capabilities, or drive expanded distribution of products or
    services developed in response to COVID-19. Montana non-profit and for-profit
    businesses of less than 150 employees that have created an innovative product
    or service intended to directly confront the COVID-19 emergency are encouraged
    to apply for grants of up to $25,000. Current funding available is $5 million.

     
  • Montana Food and Agriculture
    Adaptability Program 
    grants are available to food and ag
    businesses to help increase community resilience amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples
    of applicable projects include those focused on accessing new markets, projects
    which strengthen and expand local food systems, and other business adaptations
    that decrease food and agricultural waste. Current funding available is
    $500,000, with a maximum grant award of $10,000.

     
  • Public Health Grants are available
    to local and tribal health departments to help in the response to COVID-19 and
    to meet the needs of their communities. Current funding available is $5
    million.

     
  • Food Bank and Food Pantry
    Assistance 
    of up to $50,000 per applicant is
    available to increase food security for Montanans hardest hit by the COVID-19
    pandemic. Eligible applicants include community organizations providing food
    assistance to Montanans with limited resources, food banks, food pantries,
    community cupboards, and entities with infrastructure already in place to begin
    new food distribution programs. Current funding available is $2 million.

     
  • Social Services Nonprofit
    Grants 
    of up to $10,000 per applicant are
    available for nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 to retain existing programs
    and services, employees, or organizational viability for future services and
    operations. Eligible applicants are Montana-based social service nonprofits
    that were operating prior to February 15, 2020. Current funding available is
    $10 million.

     
  • Telework Assistance Grants of up to
    $1,000 per individual to help purchase equipment for Montanans with
    disabilities to access telework equipment. DPHHS will partner with a local
    non-profit organization to assess and support assistive technology needs of
    individuals with disabilities during COVID-19. 

A comprehensive
information resource and application portal is available at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV. Make sure you have
the following information before you apply:



Business
name, address, phone number, email and website (if you have one).

You’ll also need your business EIN or
personal social security number, proof of good standing with the Montana
Secretary of State’s Office, copy of your driver’s license or state I.D. card,
the most recent copy of filed federal tax returns and a short explanation of
the impacts of COVID-19 on your business.



In addition to SBA and state funding, now is the time for businesses to
consider low interest borrowing options. Even if you need cash in a flash, it
is important to read the fine print to ensure you won’t be charged exorbitant
interest rates on payday loans or business credit cards. The Better Business
Bureau NW+P recommends the following tips when borrowing money for your
business:

  1. Meet (or establish a
    relationship) with your local lender.

    Ask about opening a line of credit backed by collateral (it’s a small
    biz loan with the flexibility of a credit card). A local bank can help you
    choose the right line of credit & help you understand repayment terms.

  • Don’t be lured by points or
    perks credit cards.
    A
    traditional credit card comes with hefty interest rates, whereas the line of
    credit gives you a stabilized low interest rate. Businesses have a hard time
    getting ahead with a credit card when the interest rates are in the double
    digits.

  • Beware the payday loan. Annual interest rates for payday
    loans can get up to 400 percent, making them quite risky for borrowers who
    might struggle to pay back the loan on time. Plus, payday loan companies often
    have aggressive collection tactics.

For
more information about funding your business and re-opening safely, visit
trust-bbb.org/coronavirus.

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