The New Normal – funding for the future – The Ukiah Daily Journal

For a small business owner, the importance of cash on hand can never be overstated. Proper planning and management of cash flow ensures that a small business can cope with economic shocks when they arise. In 2020, through our follow-up, over 300 business owners in Mendocino County received just under $ 5 million in federal and state Covid-related loans and grants; it is money in hand. The recent announcement of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG), which were created to provide support for entertainment venues forced to close due to pandemic restrictions, brought an additional $ 988,000 to Mendocino County alone. But what do these numbers really mean for a rural community like ours?

First of all, keep in mind that in rural areas, a city can be supported by only five businesses. And, if four of those businesses close, you stop having a city. This, in turn, reverberates and impacts the next township. So while direct funding helps a business survive, it also has a direct impact on the livelihoods and well-being of the entire community.

For example, let’s look at the Noyo Theater in Willits, which received a Shuttered Venue Operators Fellowship. For over 81 years, this theater has brought together family, friends and neighbors to experience the power of cinematic storytelling. Its origins also supported local filmmakers. Temporary isolation due to the pandemic has not alleviated our need for shared experiences as a community, something this local business creates and supports.

Residents of Mendocino County have long been aware of health and wellness. At the south end of Ukiah is the Ukiah Valley Athletic Club, a staple in the community for many years. The club brings people together and raises awareness of the importance of regular exercise programs to our health and well-being. Obtaining a low-interest Covid loan has allowed homeowners to renovate and grow in a way that supports their members and the local supply chain where they purchase local services and equipment.

The cash injections at this critical time are needed not only to conserve what we have, but also to inspire new businesses that are desperately needed in our county. New businesses like Happy Rides, a fledgling medical transport company to help the elderly and the sick in our geographically distributed county, have benefited from funding opportunities, grants and investment from community members for their work. .

So what funding is there and what is on the way?

The state of California has released an additional $ 1.5 billion for small businesses with the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, with individual grants ranging from $ 5,000 to $ 25,000.

The Economic Development and Finance Corporation, West Business Development Center, and Lake County Community Development Services are working with county and city municipalities to distribute more than $ 2.5 million in grants and loans to low interest rate to low to moderate income entrepreneurs over the next few months. .

The Small Business Administration has new payment protection plan (PPP) loan cancellation criteria for the benefit of the small business owner, and new SVOG applications are also being accepted.

The Economic Development Administration is leading the way with its $ 3 billion US bailout fund for local county and city municipalities to secure major infrastructure projects and the creation of well-paying jobs.

What grants are on the horizon

California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program (MCRGP): The California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program is a one-time, $ 50 million grant program that will provide $ 2,500 in grants to eligible microenterprises in California.

California Venues Grant Program (CVGP): The California Venues Grant Program is a one-time, $ 150 million grant program for qualifying independent live events that have been affected by COVID-19.

The California Dream Fund Program is a one-time, $ 35 million grant program that will provide micro-grants of up to $ 10,000 to start entrepreneurship and small business creation in California.

West Center is your local, non-profit small business development agency that keeps abreast of the fluid nature of access to capital today. We work closely with local, regional, state and federal agencies to provide business owners with free assistance with loan and grant applications. It’s important to remember that in the new normal, access to money is constantly changing, so it helps to be mindful of changing deadlines and restrictions. West Center is here to help you sort out your options. Call us at 707-964-7571.

Mary Anne Petrillo is the CEO of West Business Development Center.

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