BEP Opens Applications for CARES Act Grants

Monday, August 24, 2020

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Benton Economic Partnership (BEP) has worked conscientiously and consistently to encourage and lead economic development efforts throughout Benton County. They put in the long hours, they make connections, and they know how to get things done. As a result, Benton County Board has tapped BEP to allocate $735,000 in CARES Act funds to local small businesses through a grant application process.

As reported in the Sauk Rapids Herald, Benton County Commissioners agreed BEP is well-positioned to administer the funds because they have an established and robust connection with businesses in the community.

“They want us involved to set up the program and to help make the decision to hand out the money,” said John Herges, BEP board president.

Small businesses with local roots that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are the intended recipients for these grants of up to $15,000 each. To be eligible, a business must have its primary physical location in Benton County, employ 50 or fewer people, have been in operation since September 1, 2019 or earlier, and be up-to-date on property taxes. Excluded are adult-oriented businesses or establishments whose primary trade is in gambling, tobacco or tobacco-related product sales. Also, chain-type businesses must be locally-owned. Full criteria for eligibility can be found here.

“The local mom and pop establishments, that’s what we’re really shooting for here,” Herges said. “Small businesses really need help in Benton County.”

Businesses must demonstrate an adverse economic impact directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and be able to provide documentation of such impact. 

Grants may not be used to pay rent, mortgages, payroll costs or other costs when such costs were reimbursed by federal Paycheck Protection Program Loan funds. Grant recipients will agree to allow an inspection and copying of business records requested by the BEP and County to satisfy subrecipient monitoring requirements.

The deadline to apply is September 30, 2020. Grants will be awarded on a “first-come, first-serve” basis: application date will be based on the date your application is complete (including all required documents submitted). The eight page application can be found here. An IRS Form W-9 must also be submitted. Emailed applications and supporting documents are preferred, but applications by mail will be accepted.

Follow BEP on Facebook, and check out the benefits of membership in BEP here. Site selectors should consider Benton County for their future expansions and growth. Explore the benefits here.


Quick overview:

CARES Act Grants of up to $15,000 are now available for Benton County businesses that have experienced economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Deadline for application is September 30, 2020. To be eligible, businesses must meet these major criteria:

  • Have 50 or fewer employees
  • Have been in operation since September 1, 2019 (not counting closures under Executive Orders)
  • Business is located in Benton County
  • Can document business losses and/or extraordinary costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Full criteria for eligibility can be found here.

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