5 things to know: Centennial may expand pandemic business grant eligibility

More than $2.5 million has been distributed to Centennial firms

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Centennial’s effort to throw a lifeline to local businesses resulted in more than $2.5 million distributed as of Aug. 11, according to a city staff report.

That’s just over half of the $5 million the city council allocated for the “Centennial CARES: Small Business Grants.” The city received an influx of cash via Arapahoe Count’s funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act.

By the time the city finishes providing grants, hundreds of businesses will likely have benefited. Home-based businesses are also eligible for funding, a change the city made starting Aug. 3.

Centennial is also developing another round of small-business grants, tentatively scheduled to be available during October, according to a news release.

The city will stop accepting applications for the current grants at 5 p.m. Aug. 30.

Here’s a look at who has benefited so far, who is eligible and what to know about the upcoming grants.

Applications in the hundreds

Just under 300 businesses have applied for grants as of Aug. 11, according to city staff in an Aug. 17 report to city council.

The city received 408 total applications, but that’s because some businesses submitted incomplete applications and then applied again, and some businesses applied for the city’s two main types of grants separately.

As of Aug. 11, the city listed 208 applications as “completed” and has distributed $2.5 million in response to those applications. Others were still being processed.

The city began accepting applications June 19.

Different grants available

The city’s current program includes two grants that can provide businesses up to $30,000.

The Business Interruption Grant provides up to $10,000 for expenses such as lease or mortgage, payroll, inventory, and supplies or equipment necessary to operate the business.

The Business Infrastructure and PPE Grant provides up to $20,000 for expenses incurred, or planned, toward complying with public health orders. Expenses may include items such as building and property modifications, touchless payment systems, online ordering platforms, personal protective equipment, and safety training.

Home-based businesses are eligible for the Business Interruption Grant for up to $2,500. Home-based businesses are not eligible for the Business Infrastructure and PPE Grant.

Who has received grants so far

The city couldn’t say what the top 10 largest businesses that received grants were in terms of yearly profit, but the recipients appear to be small companies.

“The city did not collect exact employment information from applicants,” said Neil Marciniak, Centennial’s economic development director. “Applicants were required to confirm that they employed between one and 100 (full-time positions) prior to the pandemic. We expect that most of the applicants were on the lower side of that range judging by the types of businesses.”

Very few nationally known franchises were awarded grants, and those that did -- including Subway and Golden Corral -- were locally owned and had received little to no financial assistance from the franchisor, according to Marciniak.

More funding possible in October

Centennial may provide another round of small-business grants in or near October, according to a news release.

“This round of grant funding will also come from Arapahoe County’s CARES Act funding that has been allocated for the City of Centennial,” Marciniak said.

The city intends to expand which businesses are eligible and plans to reduce the program to include the Business Interruption Grant only, Marciniak added.

Eligibility

To apply for funds, businesses must meet the following criteria:

• Be currently licensed with the City of Centennial

• Business license issued no later than March 1, 2020.

• Have a physical address in Centennial.

• Be a for-profit, privately held business.

• Was forced to temporarily close or to dramatically limit operations due to the public health orders related to the pandemic.

• Able to demonstrate 25% or more in revenue loss during the pandemic and a need for a grant to help mitigate the economic injury.

• Able to provide a total estimate of current and anticipated business losses (revenue and other losses) due to the pandemic.

See the full list of criteria and how to apply on the city's website here.

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