Ahead of a second round of grant funding for local business owners, Opportunity Stanislaus is hosting two upcoming workshops in order to help the underserved apply.
On July 14, the County Board of Supervisors approved the establishment of the Stanislaus County Business Grant, designed to provide financial assistance to county businesses impacted by COVID-19. The infusion of CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds is an investment strategy intended to stabilize the small business economy and secure the ongoing operation of nonprofit services critical to community support and economic recovery in Stanislaus County. A total of $10 million in business revitalization and economic development support funding will be distributed to local businesses of all sizes this fall.
Many businesses are still suffering the effects of COVID-19 and are in need of financial assistance programs like the Stanislaus County Business Grant. Struggling businesses may not be aware of the local assistance available to them or may not have received Federal or State funding. During the previous Small Business Relief Grant, the County recognized that some businesses needed additional and individualized support during the application process.
Opportunity Stanislaus will be providing help in two formats, virtually and in-person. In-person assistance is for applicants who may not have a laptop, internet access or are not tech-savvy. The in-person assistance will follow safety procedures and we provide personal protective equipment for those who need it. Opportunity Stanislaus will have laptops, scanners and internet access available for individuals that may not have those resources to apply.
Three in-person sessions will be held in Turlock. The first two will be held from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Turlock Salvation Army. Another will be held from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at Westside Ministries.
“Many business owners who have come in have been grateful for the assistance and outreach since a few did not know the grant existed, others did not have the resources to apply, and others just needed help understanding what was needed for the application,” Opportunity Stanislaus Marketing and Special Programs coordinator Aluriel Ceballos said. “For those who do not need to come in person, we have Valley Sierra SBDC consultants that are able to assist applicants virtually in Spanish and English.”
Applicants can receive virtual assistance by calling or texting 209-968-6176, or by emailing Ceballos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunity Stanislaus is one of six local agencies throughout Stanislaus County to serve as navigators for the grant program. The focus of these navigators is specifically to assist the underserved in determining eligibility, obtaining all required documentation, successfully completing and submitting the Stanislaus County Business Grant application. To qualify as a navigator, they attended a two-hour training with Stanislaus County Workforce Development and must have a complete understanding of the Business Grant program as well as the documentation required to apply.
During these last weeks, the navigators have been proactively marketing the program to businesses and assisting with grant application completion. They are the main point of contact for Workforce Development for any application it assisted with submitting.
“City Ministries Network has taken the lead on organizing the navigators into the different areas of Stanislaus County and ensured they have all of the support and supplies needed. We are grateful for their partnership.” Doris Foster, Director Stanislaus County Workforce Development said.
Businesses in need of a navigator can find full contact information at www.stanworkforce.com.
Businesses can reach out to a navigator directly or receive a referral to one by calling Stanislaus County Workforce Development at 209-558-4473.
“By using navigators, we hope to reach those businesses that would otherwise never have heard about this grant opportunity. It may mean the difference between keeping a business open or having to close their doors. The grant can make a difference to many small businesses and navigators are the one to help with that outreach.” Foster said.