VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A new grant program is hoping to help businesses thrive coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
LISC Hampton Roads, the United Way of South Hampton Roads, and the City of Virginia Beach are partnering up to support businesses through a long-term effort.
Last year, the organizations also helped provide immediate relief to businesses and residents struggling.
“We really saw at that time, it was a crisis for a lot of small business,” said LISC deputy director Naomi Gunnell. “We were really fortunate to deploy those funds relatively quickly and be equitable while targeting where they were needed the most.”
But now, they’re working to turn businesses from surviving to thriving mode.
The program will be giving out $10 million in grants for businesses with less than 250 employees and businesses in the tourism, hospitality, and travel industry.
Gunnell says those who apply must show their companies lost at least 15% of their revenue and grants can be used to reimburse expenses for wages and benefits, inventory for ongoing operations, overdue bills payables, weatherization of outdoor spaces, and other operational costs.
“We’ll be providing grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 for businesses to really ensure there is that long-term sustainability and understanding that the pandemic is still in full effect,” she said.
United Way of Hampton Roads President and CEO Michelle Anderson says they will also be providing assistance to residents that need help.
“What we learned from going through this for 18 months is that people need a safety net and that was one of the reasons we wanted to do VB Thrive so people aren’t in such a precarious situation that one disaster doesn’t spiral them to the bottom,” she said.
Anderson says their program will connect residents with mentors and coaches to help them meet goals and provide wrap-around services to help them work through obstacles such as transportation, childcare, and other financial problems.
“We always say people are one paycheck away from sliding and that’s what we saw happen. We saw folks in our community working and not making ends meet and going to a lower place mentally and financially. The switch to the long-term solutions is really rewarding,” she said.
Anderson says their program will launch in late May. For more information, click here.
Applications for the VB Thrive Business Relief Grant Program are open until April 19th.