Sedgwick County offers small business grants


WICHITA – Sedgwick County commissioners approved a plan Wednesday, Aug. 12, to make safe-operating grants of up to $5,000 available to small businesses beginning next week.
The allocations will go up to a total of $5 million, which is part of an additional $9.3 million in federal CARES Act funding given to the county because it has the state’s highest employment rate after the effects of Covid-19. The county originally received $99.6 million in funding.
The county surveyed businesses this summer for their most pressing needs in responding to the pandemic’s effects, which have taken a toll on restaurants, bars and many other hospitality and retail sectors. Of the 140 responses, the priorities were cash, personal protective equipment and supplies, training and workforce development, and Covid-19 testing.
Beginning Monday, small-business owners can go to a portal on the county’s website to apply. They will self-certify that they are legally operating and have no more than 50 employees. The application will stipulate the owner promises to use the funds before the end of 2020. Grant funding could be for technology needs to allow teleworking or touchless point-of-sale systems, other Covid-related expenses, and expenses related to changing business operations.
The portal will be open through Sept. 11.
Commissioners approved dividing $9.3 million into three parts: $5 million for grants for small businesses, $3 million for personal protective equipment and supplies, and $1.3 million for training opportunities for laid-off workers.