Business · Fresno

Fresno Co. rolls out $5mil grant program for struggling small businesses

As it looks to accelerate through Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Phase 2 of economic reopening, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors announced a new program aimed at helping struggling small businesses who have yet to receive a lifeline.

Tuesday, Supervisors announced the Helping Underserved Businesses, or “HUB,” grant program. The program will dedicate $5 million in Federal CARES Act funding for $5,000 grants for businesses with 10 or fewer full-time employees that have not received grants or loans to cover losses or operational needs.

The grants, administered by the Fresno Economic Development Corporation and determined via lottery, will be evenly distributed across the county’s Supervisorial districts.

The program was the creation of Supervisors Steve Brandau and Brian Pacheco, who sought to strike an urban-rural balance for business relief.

“There’s been several programs provided by the Federal government, but those smaller businesses didn’t have the expertise or resources to get through those – and they slipped through the cracks,” Pacheco said during a Tuesday press conference.

Along with the maximum number of employees, eligible businesses must provide proof they were operating two years prior to the coronavirus shutdown and complete an application.

Brandau, during the Tuesday press conference, said that applications could be open within the next two to three days.

“This grant program is a great opportunity for the Board of Supervisors to impact Fresno County small businesses and help them get back on their feet,” he said.

Lee Ann Eager, the Fresno County Economic Development Corp. chief, said that applications will likely remain open for two weeks. Following closure of the application window, EDC officials will hold the lottery for grants.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.