Okla. grant program for small businesses set to begin taking applications

Okla. grant program for small businesses set to begin taking applications-6/26/2020

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -Oklahoma is rolling out a $100-million grant program to help small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

It’s called the Oklahoma Business Relief Program, and 20% of the funds have been designated for minority owned businesses.

To qualify for the OBRP grant, the business must have suffered a revenue loss of 25% or more from January to May this year, compared to last year.

“It’s a very simple process,” said Brent Kisling, Executive Director for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. “Almost every type of business will qualify for it. We tried to simplify the application as much as possible. And we will begin taking applications on Monday.”

Brandi Sims with the Lawton/Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce says with the other programs starting to end, these grants will really help.

“To have something like this is fantastic,” said Sims. “It’s exactly what we needed. It’s exactly at the perfect time.”

20% of the funds have been set aside for minority owned businesses. Something Governor Stitt, and the minority business owners task force wanted to do.

“To qualify, basically any non white business owner qualifies,” said Kisling. “It’s 20% of the total dollar amount. So we have 20 million dollars just sitting there waiting for minority owned businesses to access.”

Sims said it’s great that the state’s administration recognized the need to do that.

“There are statistics that show, data that show that there are some disadvantages for minority owned businesses,” said Sims. “So I think it’s fantastic that he made it a point in this grant funding to allocate it to those minority owned businesses.”

Kisling says one of the big differences in this program, is the way they are delivering the grants.

“We’re actually administering the program through lenders,” said Kisling. “So if you are a business, that qualifies as a small business in Oklahoma, according to the small business administration. You can approach your lender and talk to them about accessing this grant program.”

Kisling says the lender will actually apply for the grant on your behalf. There will be a two week application period, but the program is first come, first serve. So he advises to get started as soon as possible on the application.

Applications will be accepted starting Monday, June 29th.

The deadline to apply will be July 10th.

Kisling says he expects grants to begin being awarded the following week.

To get an application, or for information regarding the Oklahoma Business Relief Program and its rules, goto OKcommerce.gov/relief.

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