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City of Laurel offering coronavirus pandemic-related small business grants

The city of Laurel is encouraging small businesses within city limits to apply for the Laurel Strong COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program.

The grant offers awards from $500 to $10,000. Funding was provided by the CARES Act funding granted to Prince George’s County, and then disbursed to municipalities within the county. The city of Laurel dedicated a total of $335,000 to the Laurel Strong Grant Program.

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“The city is very excited to be able to offer this funding opportunity to our small business community,” Christian Pulley, director of the city’s Department of Economic and Community Development, said in a statement. “We know that it has been extremely difficult to own a business during this pandemic, and we hope that this grant funding will alleviate some of the financial stress that our small businesses have been facing over the past year. If you are an eligible business, I encourage you to apply.”

Of the $335,000:

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  • $115,000 has been allotted to businesses with a single location within city limits and 10 or fewer full-time employees.
  • $115,000 has been allotted to minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses with a single location within city limits and 10 or fewer full-time employees.
  • $60,000 has been allotted to businesses with a single location within city limits and 10 or more full-time employees.
  • $25,000 has been allotted to child care businesses within city limits.
  • $20,000 has been allotted to nonprofit businesses within city limits.

Leigha Steele, the city’s economic development coordinator, co-hosted an information session about the grant on the city’s website, cityoflaurel.org. In it, she walks through the application process, provides a checklist of things to do and answers questions.

“It is a really great resource if you need extra help with the application,” Steele said. ""We’re really hoping small businesses apply for this and take advantage of this program."

Steele noted that businesses must show a loss of revenue, whether because they shut down or partially closed due to the pandemic. Funds can be used to cover rent, utilities and unexpected expenses the virus incurred — from purchasing masks and hand sanitizer to installing Plexiglass protective shields.

Applications are available online through Oct. 2 or until 500 applications are submitted.

“We’re really hoping this grant will give the small businesses the funds they need,” Steele said.

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