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The Athens Economic Development Corporation is offering grants to eligible small businesses that have been hurt by the COVID-19 economic shutdown.

The COVID-19 Small Business Support and Recovery Grant program was approved by the Athens City Council on Monday, June 22.

“The AEDC staff and its board of directors are pleased that the City Council gave final approval for the local COVID-19 Small Business Support and Recovery Grant,” said AEDC Board President Will Traxson. “Small businesses are the backbone of our business community and the AEDC is proud to be able to support those that were most affected by the government shutdown of the small business sectors of our local economy. Through no fault of their own, some local businesses are truly struggling. We are thankful that we are able to help them overcome this trying time and continue to benefit and serve our community.”

Athens-based businesses may apply for a grant not to exceed $15,000 to pay employees, utilities, rent/mortgage, or expenses directly related to COVID-19 mandates and protocols during the period of the government shutdown. A committee will determine the qualifying applications and award amounts.

Funding for this grant is limited and the grant is subject to closure once budgeted funds are awarded. Funds may have restrictions applied to them (i.e. taxes may not be paid out of these grant funds).

Apply for the COVID-19 Small Business Support and Recovery Grant by visiting the AEDC in person at 201 W. Corsicana Street; call 903-675-4617; or email jahlers@athenstx.gov or vfranklin@athenstx.gov.

The first round of applications are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 1. The second round of applications will be due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 15.

Businesses may be required to provide proof of payment for the following expenses during the shutdown:

Payroll and ongoing payroll and all associated expenses/taxes prior to March 19, 2020.

Rent (or mortgage) payment.

Gas and Electric Utility Bills and proof of payment.

Additional criteria businesses must meet include:

Fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees.

Physical and publicly accessible location in the City of Athens.

A decline in revenue between March 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Be considered in good standing with the City of Athens regarding licensing and finance, including being current on sales/use tax payments, and/or AEDC loan payments.

Be engaged in activities that are legal under city and state law.

Meet program technical requirements, including the ability to provide financial records to support grant request.

Be registered with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office or have your DBA form filed with Henderson County if a sole proprietor.

Ineligible businesses include:

Home-based businesses.

Non-profit organizations.

Businesses that received PPP or SBA loans.

National franchises.

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