Financial assistance is available to help small businesses see their way through the current economic downturn and be poised for recovery.
The grant money is being offered by the Pohlad Family Foundation administered through the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and its Grow Minnesota! program.
The foundation, headquartered in Minneapolis, has pledged $5 million to assist small businesses. The grants and low-interest loans will be distributed in partnership with Grow Minnesota! - the Minnesota Chamber's private-sector initiative aimed at retaining and creating jobs. Local businesses can apply through the Brainerd Lakes Chamber.
A limited number of grants will be available for one of the following purposes: Grants up to $50,000 to retain up to four employees while planning for and adjusting to their futures; access to up to $50,000 short-term, low-interest (3 percent) working capital or capital improvement loans to help continue operations and finance improvements consistent with a company's growth plans; the loan term is Aug. 1, 2009 through May 31, 2011; grants of up to $10,000 for business planning consultation.
Small businesses must be privatel owned with annual sales of up to $10 million, and less than 50 employees. They will apply through an online application process through the Brainerd Lakes Chamber with up to four applicants selected locally for consideration by a committee of small business owners coordinated by the Minnesota Chamber. The number of grants approved will vary based on the amount of funds requested.
Businesses need not be a Minnesota Chamber or local member to receive a visit and any follow-up assistance through Grow Minnesota!. In similar vein, any small business will be eligible to apply for a Pohlad Family Foundation grant or loan - provided its local chamber of commerce, such as the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, is a current Grow Minnesota! partner. At present, the program operates in partnership with 44 local chambers of commerce and reaches businesses in more than 50 communities.
This business assistance is part of $20 million pledged by the Pohlad Family Foundation to help Minnesotans affected by the economic downturn. The remaining grants are directed toward improving neighborhoods hardest hit by the housing crisis and retaining nonprofit services.
"As a family, we want to do our part to help businesses and Minnesotans struggling during this economic crisis," Jim Pohlad, director of the Pohlad Family Foundation, said in a news release.
"We appreciate the generosity of the Pohlad family," said Lisa Paxton, Brainerd Lakes Chamber chief executive officer. "We take our role seriously. We want to ensure this money not only preserves jobs, but also helps our local businesses get ready to grow."
Businesses seeking additional information on the grants may contact Paxton at 822-7111.
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