Small Business Grants North Dakota – According to Colin Keeler, the department’s director of financial systems, the South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management does not conduct personal audits of grant applications or grants awarded under the coronavirus relief fund.
The state has hired an independent firm to manage both the application and award process to secure millions in federal funds to help South Dakota businesses and health care facilities survive the worst of the pandemic.
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Another company, Eide Bailly, with the help of Nevada-based staff, has set up a Fraud Investigation Center website where anyone can file complaints or ask questions about potential abuse of the program. So far, based on website usage, 11 complaints about about 30 grants are pending, Keeler said.
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Keeler said the grant process was outsourced because the state was under very tight deadlines for distributing federal COVID aid money and was able to use a company experienced in program management.
To date, the state’s Coronavirus Assistance Fund program has paid out more than $490 million to 5,833 applicants, including small businesses, small nonprofits, emergency medical providers, community providers, safety net organizations and startups.
The small business portion of the program distributed most of the funds. As of September 2021, the small business program has awarded more than $302 million to 4,760 applicants.
The larger contract, worth up to $11 million, was with Guidehouse Consulting of McLean, Va., for overall management of the COVID-19 grant aid programs. As part of its job, Keeler said, Guidehouse is responsible for ensuring that the documents submitted by grant applicants are accurate and relevant.
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In a separate contract, the state will pay Eide Bailey up to $980,000 to investigate complaints of fraud or abuse of the program and conduct random audits of grants paid in four parts of the aid program.
The three main criteria for small businesses to be eligible for state aid were that the business be located in South Dakota, register or pay sales tax in the state, and suffer a cash flow loss of 15% or more twice due to the pandemic. to show separate periods in 2020, from March to August and September to November. The net loss supported by the government’s coronavirus subsidy was calculated after other covid support, including PPP loans, was included as income to prevent double-dip from subsidy programmes.
For the small non-profit, small business and small start-up portion of the program, the company reviews “eligibility determinations, the calculation of the amount awarded against the amount, as well as the validity of the recipient’s claim that the criteria have been used.” instructions of the state program. The company said it will review all grants over $500,000, a random sample of 80 grants between $100,000 and $499,999, and a random selection of 115 grants over $100,000. In total, the company randomly reviews about 270 grants, or about 4.8% of the 5,621 grants in this part of the larger aid program.
The company will also respond to any complaints filed through the state’s program website, which allows anyone to submit a report through a website link called “Report Fraud, Waste and Abuse.”
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In addition to the fraudulent website responses, auditors found several other errors among applicants, Keeler said. In late September, auditors discovered 30 grants that were underpaid by the state and identified 143 applications that were overpaid by an estimated $4 million.
The state has settled 79 cases to date with a total grant value of about $2.2 million, including about $500,000 that has been returned to the state, Keeler said.
“Our goal is to try to fix these programs where we can, as opposed to taking them back,” he said. “Most of these are just wrong & mldr; We don’t call this fraud because we don’t know the purpose of the mistake”.
No criminal charges have yet been filed in connection with the grant application or admissions process, Keeler said.
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Keeler said the evaluation of grants and applications does not include visits to the businesses awarded the grants.
“There was paperwork and phone calls and emails,” he said. “There was no one on earth running to knock on doors or anything.”
Keeler said that while the grant distribution program was not perfect, he has a high level of comfort that taxpayer money was distributed through South Dakota’s COVID-19 assistance programs and was done efficiently and with appropriate oversight.
“We’ve really tried to be as careful as possible and do it right, and I think if you look at how other states have done it compared to how we’ve done it, I think , that you will see that our state is much more careful and careful. will do,” Keeler said. “We think South Dakotans are very honest by nature, and maybe that’s why we haven’t seen a ton of things that we should have seen.” $10,000 to start a business? It is available to founders. in South Dakota as part of a federal grant.
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The federal FAST grant is now a full-fledged program in South Dakota. Dakota State University and South Dakota Biotech unveiled the FAST Launch joint venture program at an information session in Madison on Nov. 9.
It is open to any age and any startup entrepreneur in South Dakota to enroll in the program and then potentially qualify for grants ranging from $1,500 to $10,000.
FAST to South Dakota is part of the federal Small Business Administration’s statewide efforts. The purpose of the grant is to help new business owners start their business.
The launch, held Nov. 6 at Dakota State University, saw the founders jump from a potential food processing company to handmade gifts to ideas for marketing services to online and in-person conversations, according to DSU.
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“This special grant provides a small amount of money that they can use in the process of starting their business, like the $1,500 Customer Discovery Award, to help them really validate who their customers are,” said Kathryn Cota, Director of Development DSU Finance said.
First, there’s a bootcamp, with dozens of people attending their first online event this past weekend. In the second part of the program, entrepreneurs go through a series of questions that they will eventually ask their target customers to determine if their idea or product will actually sell.
Then, those who continue and are selected by the program will continue to develop their business plan and may even be better prepared to apply to the South Dakota Governor’s Grand Vision Competition next spring. The entire FAST Launch program will continue over the next few months.
“It’s not just for tech founders and it’s not just for biotech,” said Johny Ekstrom, CEO of SouthDakota Biotech, dispelling any misconceptions. “For the state – there are several ways to achieve economic growth – you can hire them or grow from within. This is for those who want to stay in the state but don’t know where to start. Let’s grow from within. …”
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Bootcamp – a training program on how to start and grow a business and develop and commercialize innovations.
Customer Discovery – Boot Camp participants are eligible to apply for up to $1,500 in support of the customer validation process.
Business plan – If the client’s intention is approved, the participant can apply for up to $10,000 to support the further development and implementation of the business plan.
Vision Giant Competition – FAST Launch encourages and supports entrepreneurs to participate in the Governor’s Vision Giant competition, which has a winning business prize of $20,000. Applications are due by February 25 and students are due March 4, 2022. Starting an LLC in North Dakota can also be. exciting and overwhelming. Compliance is important when building your dream business.
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