KEARNEY — The city of Kearney is offering a small business grant program as a way to help local businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the program, paid for with $100,000 of the city’s allotted federal CARES Act funding, winning applications will be awarded up to $5,000 each for reimbursement of expenses related to the pandemic.
Organized by Kearney Area Development Council Executive Director Shawn Searcy and with funds administration being handled by Clay County Economic Development Council, the grant program’s funds can be used for expenses such as payroll, rent, mortgage interest, inventory replacement, sanitation supplies, personal protective equipment for employees and interior or exterior facility cleaning. Qualifying expenses must have been incurred between March 1 and June 30.
Qualifying businesses are those located in Kearney, that had a valid 2019 business license, that do not have liens or fees owed to the city and are public-facing such as retail, food service, entertainment or medical service spaces.
Priority will be given to businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees and $2.5 million or less in annual revenue. National franchises and nonprofits do not qualify.
Applications are being accepted through Friday, July 24.
“It’s a terrific program and people are really jumping on it,” said Searcy.
Mayor Randy Pogue, who recommended the $100,000 appropriation of funds for the program, said he appreciates the efforts of Searcy and EDC on the program.
“Any time that we can give $100,000 to our local community, that is instant impact that is instant resources for them,” he said.