In an effort to assist the small business community in Blount County, TN, the Blount Partnership has established a business relief fund with the aid of a number of companies in the community. The fund provides disaster relief financial grants to small businesses that have developed or are developing innovative solutions to overcome catastrophic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money distributed is for disaster relief, not program support. It is not intended to shore up a business that was already teetering on closure. An example of an innovative solution is a shifting from in-store shopping to online shopping with funding provided to build and e-commerce system.
The application process, which must be completed online at www.blountchamber.com, opened March 30 and continues through April 3. Fund distribution begins April 6.
Money is distributed based on the cost of the submitted project. First Horizon Foundation kicked off the fund with $5000 and was later joined by the Blount Partnership’s $15,000 contribution.
Requirements are that the business must be located physically in Blount County, TN, it must have been in active existence at least 12 months prior to date of application, the owner or principal must live in Blount County, a majority of employees must live in Blount County, the projected innovation must be implementable within 2-4 weeks following receipt of funds, preference will be given to businesses that partner with other Blount County businesses (where necessary) and preference will be given to businesses that are members of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our Blount County community,” said Blount Partnership President/CEO Bryan Daniels. “They represent over 90 percent of our Blount Chamber membership. It’s imperative that we do everything we can to assist all businesses in the county and this disaster relief fund is just one of the ways.
“We’ve been proactive from the beginning of this crisis in providing daily information updates on SBA loan acquisitions, assisting employers and employees with layoffs and job opportunities help to making sure to be a point of access for restaurants and service industries to update the community on their offerings,” Daniels added.
Other local companies and organizations supporting the fund include the First Horizon Foundation, CBBC Bank, S.D. Professionals, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Leadership Blount, Nisus and Gallaher & Associates.
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