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Mississippi Small Business Grants 2022

Mississippi Small Business Grants 2022 – Kate Rosen was afraid of losing her small business during the pandemic in the late summer of 2020, and like thousands of others, she applied for the Mississippi COVID-19 Back to Business grant – up to $25,000 to help small businesses keep moving.

But seven weeks after he applied, Rosen was entangled in a web of red tape and had received little information about his application, despite numerous phone calls and information requested by the government. When his college advertising and marketing company collapsed, he was forced to leave the workforce as a business. He was on that boat talking to a number of neighboring businesses in Oxford. Some had to close their doors completely.

Mississippi Small Business Grants 2022

Mississippi Small Business Grants 2022

Rosen finally received his grant – he would not say the amount, but said it was not the full $25,000 – but not until mid-October, a month after requesting emergency funds meant to provide immediate assistance to minor problems. business.

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Rosen’s company survived. Business is picking up again, but it’s still tough. He knows of many small businesses that have given up or gone bankrupt after being threatened by government measures. Sadly, he can erase the names of many businesses – big and small – in his college town that didn’t survive the pandemic. And, he says, “it’s still happening, of course.”

When Mississippi received $125 billion in federal CARES Act pandemic relief, one of the first things lawmakers did was set aside $300 million to help small businesses, as well as fight Gov. Tate Reeves about who had permission to use it.

But according to Mississippi Today’s review of public records, only about half of that money has been spent. Some of it was diverted to other epidemic programs, such as housing assistance, aid to hospitals and veterans, and more flowed to the unemployment insurance fund.

Business aid has helped thousands of small businesses. Lawmakers said they were in uncharted waters with the program, under tight deadlines set by Congress to spend the money. Other problems include thousands of businesses not paying state taxes on time – a perennial problem in Mississippi. The Mississippi Development Authority, which was in charge of the large grant program, requested permission to increase the administrative fee from $900 to $360,000 to move quickly and efficiently. Lawmakers rejected the proposal.

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“The Back to Business program has helped thousands of small businesses affected by the epidemic, such as grocers and restaurants, to survive,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosman. “Some of the businesses that applied did not complete the basic documents, such as filing tax returns on time. Those who completed the basic documents received much needed help.”

Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville, said he received many complaints from business owners who were “disappointed in the process that left them out and unfortunately in some cases lost their businesses.”

“I think it’s a big mistake,” Simmons said. “And I’m concerned about how many businesses have closed and never reopened.”

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Mississippi Small Business Grants 2022

House Speaker Philip Gunn — whose House leadership team prioritized business donations and gave millions more than the Senate eventually agreed to — did not respond to requests for comment.

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In the late summer of 2020, as business owners complained about difficulties obtaining grants, a study by the HOPE Policy Institute found that Mississippi is lagging behind many other Southern states in transferring CARES Act funds to small businesses. Lawmakers met again and made changes to the program in an effort to speed up implementation and allow more businesses to qualify.

“First of all, there’s no playbook for something like this,” said Senate Finance Chairman Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, who helped pass changes to the program to speed it up and help more people. “We had to fix it on the fly, we didn’t have much time to do it… After the first attack, I didn’t hear much of a problem from businesses, but I heard a little. Thank you a little.

“We didn’t know how much money to set aside, we didn’t want to be caught short, but we didn’t want to go up,” said Harkins. “We wanted to make sure that people are eligible, but we wanted the inspector general to come back saying that this money was used inappropriately… Considering what happened, if things like this happen again, we had something to go to. . . A post-mortem examination might show that there were things we could have done differently, but there was no playbook.”

Harkins noted that because Congress set such a tight deadline – December 31, 2020 – to spend CARES Act funds, lawmakers have authorized “catch-all” unused funds in the state’s unemployment insurance fund, which is being depleted by the unemployment epidemic. claims A large drop in the unemployment fund would have resulted in a large increase in unemployment insurance payments, so the sweep to the CARES Act account of unused money also helped small businesses. Congress later regretted its time to implement the CARES Act, but at the 11th hour, state lawmakers took the money and adjourned their meetings.

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The unemployment fund was at $7.6 million, and now it’s back to $560 million after more than $400 million was invested, including the CARES Act sweepstakes. A major expansion is not in the immediate focus of Mississippi businesses.

Figures are not readily available on the number of Mississippi small businesses that have closed permanently due to the pandemic, but at the highest level, unemployment is said to be around 16%, compared to 5.5% pre-pandemic. As of March, despite the strong recovery, the total employment rate was down 3% from a year earlier and unemployment was 6.3%.

Some states, including neighboring states in the Deep South, have tried to help small businesses with aid from the federal CARES Act.

Mississippi Small Business Grants 2022

Mississippi’s two programs spent a combined $151 million, providing grants (mostly $3,500 or $2,000 each) to 37,817 businesses. Grants total an average of $5,570 each.

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Alabama had several programs for small businesses, nonprofits, and agriculture. Its small business programs, “Revive Alabama” and later “Revive Plus,” awarded more than $3.3 million to 19,141 businesses — an average grant of $15,860.

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Louisiana, with its “Main Street” small business grant program, spent $262 million (and another $700 million on administrative contracts), providing assistance to 2700 businesses at an average of $12.60 per payment. The country had received more than 48,000 applications.

Tennessee provided $200 million for the Tennessee Business Relief Grant program, another $50 million for the Supplemental Employer Recovery Grant, or SERG, program, and $50 million in grants to agriculture and forestry businesses. Figures for grants awarded by programs were not readily available.

Arkansas has earmarked $129 million for “open for business” benefits and another $50 million for tourism disruptions provided by its Parks and Tourism agency.

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Rosen said getting his business back on track after the worst of the pandemic is “like starting a business all over again,” and he’s grateful for the help of Back to Business.

Rosen said the CARES Act funds earmarked for small businesses — in addition to providing other benefits — would have gone toward providing ongoing assistance as businesses continue to struggle.

“I’m not talking about putting money in people’s pockets, but putting money in businesses — not just unemployment insurance,” Rosen said. “… We have a lot of space to rent in Oxford on the Square. Take that money and give it to business incubators, let the business incubators come in and give them six months free rent – I’m losing my mind.”

Mississippi Small Business Grants 2022

Overall, Rosson said, detailing the hours he spent on the phone, “getting out of the system” and the months it took him to get Back to Business Assistance, he gives the program a low score.

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“For the average person, the average business owner, I would say this is not executed,” Rosen said. “… It could have run better. It could have increased that $240 million.”

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CARES Act funds were supposed to help Mississippi businesses. Really?

Kate Rosen was afraid of losing her small business during the pandemic in the late 2020 Summer, and like thousands of others applied for a Mississippi COVID-19 Back to Business grant – up to $25,000 to help small businesses stay afloat.

But seven weeks after applying, Rosen was. Wrapped in a web of red tape, the world had received little information about his request despite numerous phone calls and information requests. He had to lie down

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