Grant money to provide relief to Kansas small businesses

Jeff Guy
jguy@wellingtondailynews.com

The second round of emergency financial relief for small businesses has become available from the federal CARES (Coronavirus AID, Relief and Economic Security) Act.

The Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Task Force has approved more than $130 million in relief funding for economic development and connectivity in the state. These dollars are being awarded in the form of grants to eligible businesses.

“I’m encouraging small businesses owners and nonprofits to apply,” Stacy Davis, Sumner County Economic Development Director, said. “This portion of federal funding or SPARK money through the CARES ACT is very important to those businesses.

“This is an extremely important funding opportunity for them. COVID-19 has totally devastated our small businesses - anything from a small machine shop to a local bar or restaurant. Some of them have closed, re-opened and closed again so they’ve taken quite a hit. This gives them the opportunity for a way to hopefully stay in business.”

Applications for the grant money opens at noon today. Davis has spoken with several businesses in Sumner County that are interested in applying for the grant. Non-profits, which were unable to apply for Community Development Block Grants recently awarded to the county, can apply for funds through the CARES ACT.

“This SPARK money is a great tool for nonprofits,” Davis said.

There are 10 grants, and businesses can apply for more than one grant. There has to be separate applications for each grant.

“It’s important that you reach out to our office or reach out to the KS Dept. of Commerce,” Davis said.

The Kansas Dept. of Commerce can be found online at kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief.  Sumner County Economic Development’s website is http://gosumner.com/. The phone number is (620) 326-8779. is SCED’s email address is scedc@co.sumner.ks.us. Address Davis’s email address is sdavis@co.sumner.ks.us.

The available grants are as follows:

• Small Business Working Capital Grants Kansas businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to apply for Small Business Working Capital grants. Funds can be used to pay working capital expenses such as payroll, rent, mortgage insurance, utilities, inventory and more. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until funds are depleted.

• Securing Local Food Systems Grants The Securing Local Food Systems grant program was created to support Kansas meat processing facilities, food processors, grocers and food banks to address food for human consumption supply chain disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

• PPE Procurement Grants The PPE Procurement grant program will award businesses funds for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), implementation of workplace redesigns, additional signage, new technology solutions for distance working and other items to comply with COVID-19 public health guidelines on safely returning employees to work.

• PPE Manufacturing Grants PPE Manufacturing grants will provide funding to manufacturers to reimburse certain costs to manufacture critically needed PPE. The grant funding will assist entities with creating new business while contributing to the fight against the current COVID-19 public health emergency.

• COVID-19 Bioscience Product Development Acceleration Grants Kansas has a strong pipeline of bioscience related companies developing SARS-CoV- 2 diagnostic, therapeutic and medical counter measures. This grant program will accelerate commercialization and go-to-market strategies, allowing these Kansas companies to quickly deploy novel technology by optimizing value and reducing risk through informed decision making.

• Connectivity Emergency Response Grants The Connectivity Emergency Response Grant (CERG) was created to address the increased need for connectivity in Kansas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposed projects should improve connectivity to unserved and underserved areas of Kansas to address the needs of telework, telehealth, distance learning and other remote business services.

• Broadband Partnership Adoption Grants The Broadband Partnership Adoption Grant will provide support for low-income households by partnering with ISPs to leverage their existing adoption infrastructure and assure connectivity to as many Kansans as possible.

• IT, Cybersecurity & IT Project Management Certification Training Grants To mitigate the job losses in Kansas as a result of COVID-19, the Kansas Department of Commerce is seeking a rapid response training program that will provide training, certificate testing and job placement assistance in the areas of IT, cybersecurity and IT project management.

• Kansas Tech College Advanced Manufacturing Grants This program will support the needs of the advanced manufacturing industry in Kansas. The program will focus on reskilling/upskilling individuals affected by COVID-19 to meet economic sector needs in high-demand, high-wage occupations.

Details on each category, including award amounts, proposal requirements, eligibility and more can be found at kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief.