COVID-19 Economic Relief Grants Wrap-Up for Benton County, MN

COVID-19 Economic Relief Grants Wrap-Up for Benton County, MN Main Photo

17 May 2021


Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic put a strain on small businesses; and the performance of small businesses is crucial not just to business owners but to the American economy as well. In fact, small businesses account for two-thirds of net job growth and 44 percent of U.S. economic activity

Benton Economic Partnership (BEP), fulfilling its commitment to leading economic development efforts and supporting the business community throughout Benton County, took charge of the grant relief distribution process. In 2020, Benton County Board tapped BEP to allocate CARES Act funds to local small businesses through a grant application process. In 2021, Benton County Commissioners approved a new round of Business Relief Grants to offset losses for qualifying businesses and nonprofits located in Benton County. BEP handled the process once again.

“BEP is committed to assisting the businesses in Benton County that have been so severely impacted by the Governor’s Executive Orders related to COVID-19,” said BEP Executive Director Amanda Othoudt. “Our community thrives on our small businesses employing our local workforce, creating tax base, and keeping money flowing locally. These new grants will help bridge the gap for businesses who have experienced a significant loss in revenues.”

The following is a wrap-up of the economic relief funds for small businesses distributed by BEP.

2020 CARES Act Grants

Small businesses with local roots that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were the intended recipients for these grants of up to $15,000 each.

In total, $1,088,374.40 was awarded. Breaking it down, BEP Administered $1,068,374.40 in county grants. Out of 69 total applications received, grants totaling $776,126 were distributed to 61 Benton County businesses in rounds 1-4. BEP administered the remaining CARES Act funds totaling $292,248.40 to local businesses affected by Governor's Executive Orders 20-99. Twenty hospitality industry businesses were helped in that total.

Making up the remainder of the $1,088,374.40 total grants was the $20,000 administered to businesses within the city limits of Foley. Ten businesses each received $2,000.


Thank you so much for the grant funding for the CARE Program. We are so blessed you see the value of our program and how we fill a need throughout Benton County. Our goal continues to provide service to assist seniors live well at home with dignity and the respect they deserve. Thanks again!

— Connie Cardenal

2021 Business Relief Grants

With these grants, qualifying businesses and nonprofits could receive up to $10,000 for use on eligible expenses based on demonstrated need. Grant awards were not to exceed the demonstrated impact on the business from COVID-19.

The total amount allocated by the State of Minnesota to expend — $787,399 — was distributed by March 15, 2021 in two rounds. There were 71 applications received with 43 businesses approved for funding. Actual total losses between the 43 approved applicants added up to $3,700,000 during Nov/Dec 2020 over the previous year.

A notation about Round 2: additional allocations were made to 27 applicants whose losses were greater than $10,000 in an effort to make their relief “whole.” Each of those 27 applicants received an additional $14,045.03 allocation. It must be mentioned that each of those 27 applicants actually had losses greater than $14,045.03.


I want to extend my greatest thanks for your help and patience getting us through the application process of this grant. We are very grateful and appreciative for the grant that Benton County gave us based on your approval. As everybody knows, it is a tough time for small businesses, and the money is greatly needed to maintain our current staff. Our staff have worked tirelessly to create delicious products and to deliver them to businesses around central Minnesota safely. We hope our work can make this rough patch caused by the COVID-19 pandemic just a little bit better with our homemade sweet treats. We made a huge investment in moving to Sauk Rapids a year ago, and to everyone’s surprise this pandemic has made everything difficult, so we are grateful and recognize that much of this good work would not be possible without your support.

— Jeff Muntifering

More About Benton Economic Partnership

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.