Deadline for small businesses seeking relief package nears

Deadline for small businesses seeking relief package nears

BOSTON — Friday is the deadline for small businesses statewide seeking some of the $668 million in grant money announced in December to prop up local firms. The Small Business Relief Package was pitched as a way for businesses to cover revenue losses, utility bills and rent, among other expenses.

Shana Bryant applied for a grant during the fall, an earlier round of funding, but was denied. Bryant owns and operates Shana Bryant Consulting, an event-planning business that was decimated by COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.

Due to restrictions on gatherings, projected revenue for 2020 was down about 75% for her business, Bryant told Boston 25 News. She trimmed her budget and turned to planning virtual events, and is now hopeful she’ll be awarded the $25,000 in grant money; the maximum amount offered is $75,000.

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Businesses that were eligible and applied to the program previously but did not receive funds are prioritized, according to a news release.

Damian Benitez applied for state grant money previously and received less than $3,000 for his barbershop, he told Boston 25 News. The money helped with some of his rent and procurement of personal protective equipment.

“The grant was definitely helpful to cover losses to get us going,” Benitez said.

He is seeking additional funding but will not be considered a priority.

Both Bryant and Benitez received help from the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts [BECMA] for their applications. The relief package applications and administration are being handled by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation [MGCC].

A statement from BECMA to Boston 25 News Saturday said, in part:

“Buoyed with the knowledge that the development of some communities cannot coexist with the underdevelopment of others, we look forward to partnering with the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation and coalition partners to ensure that these limited funds get to the businesses most severely impacted by our current public health and economic crisis.

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