INDIANAPOLIS – The state will use $30 million in federal aid to offer grants to small businesses feeling revenue losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jim Schellinger, the secretary of commerce, said the Small Business Restart Grant program would assist Hoosier businesses that might not qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program from the Small Business Administration.

“Eligible small businesses must demonstrate that they have a revenue loss of at least 40%,” Schellinger said. “But I want to emphasize: please look at applying for the (Paycheck) Protection Program … we want to maximize those (grants) so we can maximize those RESTART grants.”

Schellinger said that grant money could be used to cover rent, mortgage payments, lease payments, utility bills or personal protective equipment purchases. Grants will be awarded based on reported lost revenue with $5 million dedicated to certified minority-owned businesses or women-owned businesses.

To qualify, businesses must have less than 50 employees and less than $5 million in annual revenue.

Businesses reporting a 40% drop in lost revenue are eligible for four monthly grants of $2,500. With an 80% revenue loss, businesses can receive up to $5,000 for two months. Both programs are capped at $10,000 per company. Apply next week at backontrack.in.gov.

Schellinger said that the state’s 10 small business development centers had received $3.7 million to assist businesses, nearly double what they receive annually, from the federal government.

“This is going to enable the small business development centers to increase – at no cost – (those) services (such as counseling and business training),” Schellinger said.

Schellinger said Indiana has about 700,000 small businesses, with 160,000 employing less than 50 employees but didn’t have a firm estimate on how many businesses the state expected to assist.

“We believe that there are a lot of small businesses out there that have not qualified for the Paycheck Protection Program,” Schellinger said. “We’ll reassess this as we go, based on demand.”

The state announced earlier in May it would send $300 million to municipalities for virus-related expenses but hasn’t announced plans for the remaining $2 billion in federal aid.

“Right now there’s just been a lot of inquiry regarding the process of what needs to be submitted for reimbursement (under the $300 million earmarked for municipalities),” said Cris Johnston, director of the Office of Management & Budget. “There were only three that were approved this week for about $50,000.”

In conjunction with the small business grant program, Luke Bosso, the chief of staff for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, announced that the corporation approved a $10-million matching program specifically for manufacturers to recover long-term.

“With a new set of facts and a higher sense of urgency, our team recast several programs,” Bosso said. “These programs are intended to be announced later this year and are long-term solutions for the state’s manufacturing industry.”

The Economic Activity and Enhancement (EASE) Program will have three separate funds focused on incentivizing investment in smart manufacturing: seed money, modernizing operations/health care manufacturing technology and a Smart Manufacturing Studio Lab.

The $3 million in seed money will be available immediately, with a minimum co-investment, with the $4 million modernization/health care manufacturing launching in July and the lab investment slated for 2021.

“A company in northern Indiana is purchasing N-95 mask or respirator mask machines. That is something that would be eligible for this grant program,” Bosso said. “It’s manufacturing that has been done overseas and that is now coming back to Indiana.”

Manufacturers adding a line for developing smart technology would also be eligible for the matching grant.

Recommended for you