Budish: Small Business Stabilization Fund Is "Open For Business"

The Small Business Stabilization Fund is a way to help local businesses that can’t access federal loans and grants. [Darrielle Snipes / ideastream]
The Small Business Stabilization Fund is a way to help local businesses that can’t access federal loans and grants. [Darrielle Snipes / ideastream]

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced Friday small businesses can apply for loans and grants through the Small Business Stabilization Fund, created to help local businesses recover from weeks of being closed due to Ohio’s stay-at-home order.

The fund has more than $4 million, which Budish said is a way to fill in gaps for federal grants and loans. He said not every business will be able to receive federal money, or the money will take too long to come in.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community, they’re the lifeblood of our economy,” he said. “We must do all that we can to help them survive. These next days and weeks are crucial to them surviving this crisis.”

Small business owners can receive information through the Small Business Resource Center, which is staffed by small business partners who can walk people through loan and grant application processes and provide advice.

Budish said in the few weeks that the resource center has been open, they’ve received more than 400 calls from small businesses.

The Small Business Stabilization Fund has grants up to $5,000 available to businesses with fewer than 20 employees, and loans up to $50,000 for businesses with up to 500 employees.

The Economic Community Development Institute will coordinate the fund. Budish said donations also came from Jumpstart in partnership with KeyBank Foundation, Village Capital, the Greater Cleveland Partnership Business Growth Collaborative, and the Urban League of Greater Cleveland.

Budish said in his announcement that although Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order has been successful at slowing community spread of the coronavirus, it has been hard on small business owners who have had to close storefronts.

“Just drive down, or walk down, the streets in your neighborhood, and you can see what I’m talking about,” he said. “Many, many stores are shuttered. It’s eerie, to walk around, to see the lights out in so many businesses. Almost everything is shut down.”

Budish said although the $4 million the county has raised is a large number — and more than original projections — it won’t be enough.

“It’s nowhere near enough to support all the small businesses that need our help,” he said. “We’ll continue to try to enhance the program as we move forward. When this crisis ends, and it will end, we’ll come out of this with new tools and new resources, which will make us stronger than ever. I certainly look forward to that day.”

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