Thousands of SC small businesses, nonprofits could be in line for grants to keep them afloat

Thousands of SC small businesses, nonprofits could be in line for grants to keep them afloat
(Source: Jason Raven)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Teresa Wardlaw is the owner of Cool Care Heating and Air in Columbia.

She said her business has been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been a tough year for everyone and specifically for us in our industry,” she said.

Her business of 23 employees would be eligible for a small business grant created by a new program. Last month, lawmakers voted to set aside a total of $65 million from the CARES Act for the Minority and Small Business Grant Program and the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program.

Right now, $40 million will be going to small businesses and $25 million to nonprofits across the state.

Approved grants for small businesses range anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000 and approved grants for nonprofits could range from $2,500 to $50,000.

To qualify for a grant a business must:

  • employ 25 or fewer employees
  • be physically located in South Carolina
  • been in operation from Oct. 13, 2019 to present and
  • have experienced a business impact due to COVID-19.

To qualify for a grant an organization must:

  • be designated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by the IRS and registered as a public charity in S.C.
  • be physically located in South Carolina
  • been in operation from Oct. 13, 2019 to present and
  • have experienced a business impact due to COVID-19.

Governor Henry McMaster said minority-owned businesses like Wardlaw’s will be prioritized. “There are a lot of small businesses, minority-owned businesses, as well as some nonprofits who have not been able to access any help. This program is aimed at them,” he said.

Chairman and CEO of the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce Stephen Gilchrist said, “This announcement today is certainly a gamechanger for these businesses who have suffered so much. Many of whom were not able to take advantage of the PPP.”

Businesses and nonprofits will have a small window to apply for these grants.

According to officials, they can begin applying online Monday, October 19. The deadline to apply is November 1st.

Wardlaw said she plans to apply for a grant. “It’s huge for us. What the state is doing with the CARES Act and these grants and business license reform. What a gamechanger for us,” she said.

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