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N.C. Grant Program For Underutilized Small Businesses Is Open For Applications

By Jenny Callison, posted Oct 15, 2021
A North Carolina grant program designed to help small disadvantaged businesses is currently accepting applications.
 
Established in 2020 by N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper, the RETOOLNC Grant Program Fund is aimed at Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program’s fact sheet states that eligible applicants are HUBs and DBEs with fewer than 50 employees and no more than $1.5 million in revenue, according to their 2019 tax filing. State tax payments must be up to date.
 
Home-based businesses meeting these criteria are eligible to apply. Jerry Coleman, director of Cape Fear Community College's Small Business Center, said his office is happy to help qualifying small businesses with the application process.
 
The application portal opened Sept. 27 and will close Nov. 15 or when grant funds are exhausted, according to the program’s website, which also contains the application portal. The program is being administered by the N.C. Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses in partnership with the Carolina Small Business Development Fund and the National Institute of Minority Economic Development.

The base grant amount is $10,000. Grant awards greater than $10,000 will be based on an average of four months’ operating expenses from 2019 business tax returns, or $25,000, whichever is less, the website states.

Funds may be used for "legitimate business expenses," which, according to program officials, include covering payroll shortages and other operations needs such as working capital, lease payments, existing real estate and equipment financing payments.

Small for-profit entities are considered DBEs if socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51% interest and also control management and daily business operations, according to the U.S. Government. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and Subcontinent Asian Americans as well as women are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged.  Other individuals can also qualify as socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.

Additional information is available here.
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