• Gulf Power Contributes $250K to FL SBDC for Small Business Grant Program to Provide COVID-19 Relief

    The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of West Florida (UWF) today launched the Northwest Florida Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program to assist businesses across our communities impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The grant program was made possible by an initial contribution of $250,000 from Gulf Power through its economic development fund.
    “We are so grateful for the leadership of Gulf Power in helping to establish this grant program that will provide critical financial assistance to small businesses that are suffering across Northwest Florida,” said Kelly Massey, Regional Director of the Florida SBDC at UWF. “Programs like this can sometimes be the deciding factor in whether a small business can hold on through this unprecedented health crisis or has to shut its doors for good. We hope others in our community will contribute to this program so that we can help local businesses make it through these challenging times.”
    One important distinction to note is that this is a grant program versus a loan, which means that if approved, a small business will not need to pay back this assistance. 
    “We understand that this is a difficult and unsettling time for us all, and that many of our neighbors – including small local businesses – are now facing significant financial hardship,” said Marlene Santos, president of Gulf Power. “We are grateful to be able to help the small businesses that are often the backbone and economic engine of our communities – and what makes Northwest Florida a uniquely special place to live, shop, eat and raise a family.”
    The grant program will provide up to $5,000 to help offset losses that small businesses may currently be experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant applications will be accepted April 8-15, 2020, and are available for download at www.sbdc.uwf.edu. Eligibility requirements include: 
    A for-profit, privately held small businesses established on, or before Jan. 1, 2019.
    Must maintain a place of business, including a physical location, within eligible Northwest Florida counties.
    o Eligible Northwest Florida counties include: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Jackson, Washington, Calhoun, and Bay.
    Must have 2 to 10 employees.
    Must have a demonstrated reduction in sales revenues of 25% or more due to the loss of business income related to COVID-19. 
    For more information about the program or assistance with completing the grant application, contact the Florida SBDC at UWF at 850-586-7802 or ahaider@uwf.edu

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