FITCHBURG — The Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority launched a new grant program on Monday to assist local businesses being impacted by the coronavirus.
The Emergency Economic Development Resiliency Grant program will include awards of up to $2,500 to eligible businesses within the city.
Executive Director Meagen Donoghue said the purpose of the program is to give a financial boost to businesses affected by COVID-19 crisis.
“Fitchburg’s small businesses are the heartbeat of the community as they provide opportunities for entrepreneurs, employees and patrons alike,” Donoghue said. “These businesses make up much of Fitchburg’s identity and sense of place as they are owned, worked at, or frequented by our friends and neighbors.”
Donoghue said several area businesses have been hit hard by the crisis because of layoffs and the state-ordered closure of non-essential businesses.
The program, she said, is meant to address the financial burdens businesses are facing and to keep them afloat until the state’s restrictions are lifted.
Money for the program is coming directly from the FRA’s budget, which is financially independent from the city.
Business owners interested in applying for the grants should go to www.fitchburgredevelopment.com and click on the link at the top of the homepage.
Funding is limited but the FRA hopes to provide relief to approximately 40 businesses that have been significantly impacted in the past few weeks, Donoghue said.
She said the organization is focused on this grant program, but suggested that new grant and loan programs could come along in the near future.
There are a few other options for businesses looking for some assistance.
Mayor Stephen DiNatale recently announced that the city will be receiving nearly $600,000 from the federal CARES Act to help businesses through the Community Development Block Grant program.
The state is offering emergency capital up to $75,000 to businesses impacted by the virus through its Small Business Recovery Loan Fund. Those businesses must have under 50 full and part-time employees, including nonprofits. Loans are immediately available to eligible businesses with no payments due for the first six months.
The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts also established an emergency response fund to help nonprofit organizations in its 33-community region to help sustain operations.