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CARES Act grants available for small business, women- and minority-owned businesses


The City of Reno and Washoe County are each promoting small business grants made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The application period for both pots of funds is open now, and continues through early October.

The City of Reno’s financial assistance program provides relief for minority- and women-owned businesses with less than $2 million in annual revenue and less than 20 employees. Eligible businesses must also have a current City of Reno business license, be physically located within the city of Reno and be at least 51% women- or minority-owned.

Funding is limited and awards will be up to $20,000 each.

The Audacity Institute was selected by the City to administer the program and said it’s working with a diverse and inclusive advisory board to minimize bias in selection criteria for funding.

According to a statement from the City, nationally, up to 90% of minority and women-owned businesses were denied relief funding from the Payroll Protection Program, and only 12% of Black and Latino business owners received what they asked for in PPP loans. According to an analysis by the Audacity Institute, statistics in the Reno area are similar.

“On average, women and minority-owned businesses in Reno received fewer economic disaster assistance loans, and fewer dollars when assistance was granted,” said Danielle Rees, Audacity Institute Managing Partner. “As a result, it’s possible that Reno could see more of these women and minority-owned businesses closing in the coming months.”

Applications are accepted through Friday, Oct. 2 at 11:59 p.m. The online application is available in both English and Spanish at https://www.audacityinstitute.org/funding.

Additional funding is available for Washoe County small businesses through the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) grant program; Washoe was one of eight Nevada counties to receive the CARES Act funds through this program.

The first-come, first served funding is available for small-business owners and can be used for a number of needs including payroll, retrofitting public areas for coronavirus protections or even basic operating costs.

Applications close at midnight Tuesday, Oct. 6. Guidelines and qualifications are listed on the NACO website, and NACO has partnered with the University of Nevada’s Small Business Development Center to assist businesses with the application process. Free and confidential assistance for businesses can be obtained through www.nevadasbdc.org or call 800-240-7094 to make an appointment with a counselor.

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