Covid-19 Assistance Grant
Purpose and Objectives:
We recognize the economic impact to downtown Hopewell businesses caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic has been extraordinary. As the downtown was beginning to build momentum and re-acceptance into the community as a commercial center, the current pandemic has thrown that revitalization into jeopardy.
In order to assist businesses in weathering this temporary but significant economic downturn, the HDP, partnered with Virginia Main Street and the Department of Housing and Community Development, intends to offer micro-grants to downtown businesses. While these grants are small, the intent is to help hold over businesses until they can receive federal stimulus funds either through the PPP or EIDL programs, and/or the pandemic subsides.
Grants are offered on a first come first served basis until all funds are depleted and are offered on a ‘Pay it Forward’ basis.
Grants are awarded by the Hopewell Downtown Partnership after review and approval by the HDP Covid-19 Grant committee. Please note that any grants are subject to the existence of sufficient funds. The application is provided electronically at the bottom of this page. Please read all guidelines and eligibility criteria below.
Use of Grant: The Hopewell Downtown Partnership will grant funds for the use of 3 specific purposes. Businesses can use funds for one or all three intended uses.
- Rent or expenses directly related to the operation of the business
- Development of online or alternative commerce platforms (i.e. technology, software)
- Pay Staff Payroll (other than owner)
- Professional development classes related to running/expanding a business.
Funds may not be used:
- For owner
- For savings or investment
- For the purchase of new property or fixtures/furniture/equipment, (unless otherwise related to shifting your business model to accommodate: e-commerce, takeout or curbside service)
- For the repayment of debt or loans
Maximum allowable grant: The maximum allowable grant that is available through this program is $2,000 per small business. Grants will be made by check to the applicants listed address on the grant application within one week of application approval. The funds would be accessed through a short online application explaining why funds are needed and how they will be used.
Pay it Forward: The grant would be a ‘pay it forward’ grant that would ask those who are able within the next two years, to pay the funds back to create a revolving grant fund to support other businesses. This is not required but encouraged.
Forgivable: Businesses must provide receipts or proof of how the funds were used within 6 months from disbursement. As long as the expenses meet the criteria in the application and the original use expressed in the application, applicants will not have to pay any funds back.
Program Eligibility Requirements:
- The grantee must control the property through one of the following mechanisms:
> property ownership
> contract purchase with titleholder approval
> lease with minimum 1-year term
- Business must be located in a Brick & Mortar building within Hopewell’s Downtown Main Street Historic District
Program Application Requirements:
No grant application can be considered without certification of the following:
- Completed program application form.
- Must have been open at least 4 days a week for regular posted hours before the pandemic began
- Copy of a lease agreement, if applicable.
- Businesses must provide business financials including sales and expense data for each quarter of 2020, as well as any changes in the number of employees
- Businesses must commit to re-opening or staying open after the pandemic, if possible
- Businesses must fill out an online business database and local survey
- Provide a one page strategy or list of activities the business owner is pursuing to better their business or their business acumen during the pandemic and provide avenues for customers to support them
- Submit receipts, invoices, or other proof that grant funds were used in accordance with the intention of the grant
Review and Approval Process:
- Application packets should be submitted to the Hopewell Downtown Partnership Covid-19 Grant Committee. No application will be reviewed by staff unless it is complete. Grant applicants are encouraged to meet (virtually) as frequently as necessary with HDP staff or committee members to ask questions and work out problems before the project proposal is formally submitted for review.
- After the application is submitted, the review committee may reach out to the applicant to clarify statements or ask additional questions as necessary. The goal is to provide as many grants as possible and the committee will not deny any application on a technicality.
- If the Committee determines that the proposed project does not meet the grant program’s purposes and objectives, the application will be returned to the submitter for further refinement. If the Committee determines that the proposed project meets the program’s criteria, it will be forwarded to the Director and Chairman of the Hopewell Downtown Partnership with a recommendation for approval.
- For retail locations, preference will be given to stores with an e-commerce component or those who pledge to add e-commerce within the next 6 months
- For restaurant/alcohol establishments, preference will be given to those offering easy access to a menu through Facebook, Google, or an external website.
Administration of the Covid-19 Grant:
- Along with the ordinance approving the grant, a short agreement will be executed between the HDP and the grantee.
- The HDP will plan to cut checks to approved applicants within 1-7 days from the application approval.
Loan terms and information
Qualifying businesses will be eligible for up to a maximum of $2,000 in funding.
- This is a 0% interest forgivable loan for businesses directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The total balance of the loan will be forgiven within eight weeks if all criteria is met
- Quarterly reports of revenue and expenses will be expected until the end of 2020
- All documentation as eluded to above must be agreed to and submitted before approval.
- Hopewell Downtown Partnership has the right to approve or disapprove any business applying.
- Loans applications will be reviewed on a first come first serve basis.
- Submitting this loan application does not guarantee an award
- Loans are made businesses only, not individuals