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Application live for second round of Orange County-sponsored small business funding

Carborro residents shop at the Carborro farmer's market Saturday, Feb. 9 2020. With the additional funding for small businesses, small shops such as ones at the Farmer's market will be given the space and opportunity to grow.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners has approved a second round of emergency funding for small businesses in Orange County that have suffered financially from COVID-19.

The Board approved $410,000 in grants that will be made available in grants of up to $5,000. The application for the second round of emergency funds is live and will close on Wednesday, June 17 at 11:59 p.m.

County Commissioner Penny Rich said that there are multiple conditions for qualification. However, Rich said the Board is trying to be more lenient in the second round to ensure specific business owners are helped and receive the money in the next few weeks.

Director of Orange County Economic Development Steve Brantley said that the first round of fund recipients have received their aid in the past week.

Some ineligible businesses include nonprofits, businesses that haven't been open for a year and companies involved in real estate, multi-level marketing, adult entertainment or firearms.

Rich said most of the Board was supportive of approving the funds and is looking to fund more women- and minority-owned businesses in this round of grants. 

“We need to make sure that we reach those folks,” Rich said. “To let them know that we're doing a second round. I don't know that a lot of people know that we're doing a second round after the first.”

She also wanted to emphasize that this round of funding is different from the first, which was passed in April, because it is not a blend of grants and loans. Instead, this round is made up of grants business owners do not need to pay back.

Katie Loovis, vice president for external affairs of The Chamber of a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, said the chamber was excited for further impact from this round of grants.

“We are incredibly grateful that our county government recognized the state of emergency and stepped up quickly to be able to help our local businesses,” Loovis said. “The funding that's already been supplied from the first round and the funding that will be released in the second round is most welcome and appreciated and will make a big difference for our local businesses.”

WomanCraft Gifts in Carrboro was one of the businesses that received money from the first round of emergency funding. Store coordinator Catherine Palomba said she was extremely appreciative of the program and the staff that helped her in the application process.

“We rely on the public coming in and buying the product that we have, and we didn't have any funds coming in,” Palomba said. “So the grant came at a perfect time for us to help pay the obligations that we had that were continuing. It's really a great program.”

Palomba said she is excited to hear that the Board passed the second round of funding to be able to support as much of the community as possible.

@DTHCityState |

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