Governor Northam Announces Expansion of Rebuild Virginia Small Business Grant Fund (REBUILD!VA) Program
Governor Northam announced last week an expansion of the REBUILD!VA program to benefit more Virginia businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with 30 million dollars in additional funding available and expanded eligibility standards. The program was originally launched in the summer with 70 million dollars in aid the state received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. For more information about the program as originally created see our previous article, Rebuild VA Small Business Grant Fund: What You Need to Know.
REBUILD!VA Grants Now available to all Virginia small businesses and nonprofits
The Grant program now is open to all types of Virginia small businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that meet the size and other eligibility requirements. Businesses with less than 10 million dollars in gross revenue or fewer than 250 full-time employees may now qualify. Further, businesses are eligible to receive up to a maximum of 100,000 dollars. Previously, to qualify for a grant a business had to have less than 1.5 million dollars per year in gross revenue or 25 or fewer employees. Grants were limited to 10,000 dollars.
The grant program originally was limited to businesses falling within certain categories, such as restaurants, “bricks and mortar” retail stores that were considered “nonessential”, fitness and exercise facilities, entertainment facilities, etc.—essentially businesses that were mandated by Executive Orders 53 or 55 to close or substantially alter their operations. Then, in September, the Governor expanded the types of businesses eligible to include small hotels and bed and breakfast facilities, film companies supporting production in Virginia and supply chain partners impacted by the coronavirus-related business closures. Now, it appears eligible businesses include those that can demonstrate that their normal operations have been impacted by the pandemic.
Applicants eligible for the grants include corporations (C-Corps), pass through entities (S-Corps, partnerships, or LLCs), or other legal entities that are organized separately from the owner; nonprofit organizations including 501(c)(3), 501(c)(7) or 501(c)19; Virginia tribes; sole proprietors, and independent contractors. In addition, to qualify, an applicant must have its principal place of business in Virginia, have been in business prior to March 12, 2020, have good standing with the State Corporation Commission (if applicable), be engaged in a legal activity, and meet the revenue and employee criteria above.
What Expenses are eligible for REBUILD!VA Grants?
Grants may be received for up to three times an applicant’s average monthly recurring eligible operating expenses. Recurring eligible operating expenses include: (i) payroll and benefits, (ii) mortgage payments, (iii) rent or lease payments, (iv) utilities, and (v) principal and interest payments for business loans incurred before or during the emergency. In addition to the grant for eligible operating expenses, applicants may receive grant money to cover eligible COVID related operating expenses, but only if the applicants have not received CARES Act funding. Eligible COVID reimbursements include, but are not limited to, the purchase of equipment, infrastructure, technology and other capital assets necessary to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and provide a safe work environment, expenses to comply with OSHA and Virginia Department of Health safety standards relating to the COVID-19 prevention, and other expenses relating to the prevention of the spread of the virus and promotion of healthy work spaces. The maximum grant for both recurring eligible operating expenses and COVID specific expenses is 100,000 dollars.
The program is administered by the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity.
Please see the the Virginia Governor’s website for additional information regarding this grant program.
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