Up to $1.25 million in federal funding is available to assist Mower County small businesses, non-profits and animal agricultural producers who have suffered financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners recently approved the Small Business Relief Grant Program to provide the funding from the county’s allocation of federal CARES Act funds.  Mower County was allocated just over $4.9 million under the CARES Act.  The legislation sets three criteria that all expenses must meet to be an eligible use of the funds, they must be necessary, unaccounted for in the current budget and incurred during the covered period between March 1st and November 15th, 2020.

Grants of up to $10,000 will help entities cover payroll, rent, mortgage payments. utility bills and operational expenses, including cleaning and disinfecting supplies, as well as personal protective equipment since March 1st.  Once approved, business and non-profits should receive grants by the end of September.

The county is partnering with the Development Corporation of Austin, a local non-profit economic development organization to administer the grants.  Online applications are available as of Monday, August 10th.  Applications must be submitted no later than Monday, August 31st.

To qualify, businesses must be able to demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, an employer of the equivilent of 50 or fewer full-time workers, a business, non-profit or animal agriculture producer who has a permanent, phycical location in Mower County, majority-owned by a permanent resident of Mower County or immediately adjacent county in Minnesota or Iowa and be in good standing with the Minnesota Secretary of State and Minnesota Department of Revenue.

Only one application needs to be submitted per business.  If the number of applications exceeds available funding, a ranked selection process will be used based on economic impact due to the executive orders made by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz in response to COVID-19.

Businesses that applied for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) grant program, but were not selected are encouraged to apply for the Mower County program.

For complete grant information, visit www.austindca.org/cares.  For questions, call (507) 433-9495 or email [email protected].