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Funds available for Louisiana business owners

VIDALIA — Louisiana business owners could receive up to $15,000 in state funds to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On June 12, 2020, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed Senate Bill 189, Act 311 enacting $275 million from CARES Act funds to assist Louisiana’s small businesses through the Louisiana Main Street Recovery Program.

The program awards grants to many Louisiana small businesses to assist in their recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19 and is administered by the Louisiana Department of Treasury.

Louisiana State Treasurer John M. Schroder and Louisiana State Sen. Glen Womack offered information about the Louisiana Main Street Recovery grant program to Vidalia business owners during a Wednesday morning program at the Vidalia Conference & Convention Center.

The program was hosted at the convention center by Natchez Inc.

“It is very important that community leaders embrace this program,” Schroder said to program attendees Wednesday.

Schroder said in the first 35 business days since the program’s inception, approximately $43 million in relief funds were awarded to approximately 26,000 applicants.

Schroder said $110 million is still awardable through Nov. 4 to those who apply.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

The business must employ 50 people or fewer but no less than one person as of March 1, 2020. Businesses that are part of a larger company employing more than 50 people are not eligible.

The applicant must have filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 or will file in 2020 if their business was established after Jan. 1.

The business owner must be a resident of Louisiana or at least half of the business must be owned by a resident of Louisiana.

The applicant must have suffered an interruption of business and have a physical location in Louisiana that customers or employees visit.

Companies that exist for the purpose of advancing partisan political activity or directly lobby federal or state officials are not eligible.

Business owners who derive income from passive investments without active participation in business operations are not eligible.

Schroder said approximately 45% of applications were denied because the applicant had either not filed their taxes, was not registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, had poor documentation or no documentation included in their application or was untruthful in their application.

“As of two weeks ago, 46,000 applicants hadn’t filed their taxes,” Schroder said. “Almost every business is eligible. All you need to do is file your taxes, be in good standing with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office and be owned by a Louisiana resident and be located in Louisiana.”

A similar grant program administered by the Mississippi Development Authority was offered to Mississippi business owners called “Back to Business Mississippi.” The application period for “Back to Business Mississippi” began in May and ended Wednesday.

“People just started receiving funds (from the Back to Business Mississippi grant program) about two weeks ago,” Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said. “The state sent out checks to businesses early once they received the Cares Act funds.”

For more information or to apply for the Louisiana Main Street grant program, visit louisianamainstreet.com. For additional information email info@louisianamainstreet.com or call 888-795-4947.

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