(Norwalk, Conn.) Today, January 20, 2023, Mayor Rilling announced that the City has unlocked funding for the final phase of its COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program. Since the onset of the pandemic, the City has granted $520,000 to small businesses through the COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program. This final round of funding will include $375,000, which is part of the City's $8.7 million commitment to economic and community development in Norwalk.
During this final phase of the program, a minimum of 50 grants are available for eligible Norwalk businesses that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are now open through February 17.
"Throughout the pandemic, Norwalk has continued to support as many small businesses as possible," said Mayor Rilling. "Since 2021, our COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program has invested over $520,000 in nearly 70 local businesses, of which over 75% have been women or minority-owned businesses. We know that the business community was hit hard by the pandemic, and we encourage those adversely impacted to apply to enter the lottery. We are incredibly proud of our robust and vibrant business community and want them to thrive here in Norwalk. While this is the last phase of our COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program, the City's support doesn't end here. We are always identifying new ways to assist our local businesses and encourage anyone seeking additional resources to visit our new Norwalk Business Development Center at 3 Belden Avenue."
The grants are available as follows:
- A minimum of 31 Grants:
- $5,000 each for businesses with 2-5 employees (10 reserved for WMBE Businesses);
- A minimum of 13 Grants:
- $10,000 each for businesses with 6-15 employees (4 reserved for WMBE Businesses); and
- A minimum of 6 Grants:
- $15,000 each for businesses with 16-20 employees (2 reserved for WMBE Businesses).
During the week of February 20, the City will review all applications, after which each business will receive an email confirming if they met the eligibility requirements. All businesses deemed eligible will then be placed into a lottery. A live public drawing will be conducted via Zoom during the week of March 20. The lottery system will be separated by employee count for each respective grant. There will be two separate lotteries for each grant amount to accommodate the WMBE set aside.
All information regarding the application and guidelines is available on the Norwalk for Business Financial Resources Page. Important application guidelines include:
- Eligible businesses must be for-profit enterprises that employ between 2 and 20 people. Sole proprietors are NOT eligible.
- Previously approved grantees are eligible but only if the amount is greater than previously received. For example, if a business received $5,000 in round one and is now eligible based on employee count for $10,000 in round two, they may reapply. If selected again in the lottery, they will be made whole, receiving an additional $5,000.
- Eligible expenses include rent, utilities, payroll, and purchasing of PPE.
- The results of the lottery will be final.
The first phase of the City's COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program occurred in January 2021, and the second phase occurred in February 2022.
For any questions or assistance with your application, please reach out to Sabrina Godeski, the City's Director of Business Development & Tourism, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-939-2202.