City of Kent extends application deadline for small business grants

Eligibility requirements relaxed

Small business owners have until Aug. 9 to apply for the city of Kent’s emergency relief grant program.

City staff relaxed eligibility requirements for the Small Business Emergency Relief Grant program and decided to extend the application deadline beyond July 27.

“Previous receipt of federal or state COVID-19 related aid including grants, loans or other supports like the PPP or EIDL programs are no longer disqualifying factors for this grant program,” said Michelle Wilmot, of the city’s Economic and Community Development Department, in a July 27 email to community partners. “We’ve also heard from many of you the requirement to be operational for three years was leaving many struggling businesses out. So we’ve reduced that requirement from three to two years as of June 30, 2020.”

Wilmot said since the city opened the application window a couple of weeks ago, guidance from the state on the use of CARES Act funds has evolved, allowing the city to loosen some of the eligibility criteria.

As many as 200 or more small businesses could receive grants of $4,500 each. Businesses must have 15 full-time employees or fewer to apply. The city will pay for a total of $1 million in grants from a $3.8 million grant it received from the state Department of Commerce through the federal CARES Act. Kent will hold on to about $2.8 million of the grant to cover costs to the city because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The city extended the application deadline to help give small business owners more time to become familiar with the changes and whether to apply. If business owners have already applied, no further action is needed. For more information, call 206-465-0070.

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