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Greenwood County Council allocates $85,000 for small businesses grants

Help is coming for small businesses in Greenwood County.

Greenwood County Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to allocate $85,000 for one-time grants of up to $1,500 for small businesses with $10,000 of that sum designated for marketing and administrative costs.

Only a business with 10 or fewer employees and annual revenue of less than $1 million can qualify.

“Governments have had to do things we have not seen in our lifetime,” George McKinney, the county’s emergency management coordinator, said in advocating for this program.

A committee comprised of government personnel and business leaders will assess the applications of small businesses.

“We want to make sure this is a Greenwood County program,” David Dougherty, interim CEO of Greenwood SC Chamber of Commerce, said.

He said the chamber will reach out to each of the municipalities for recommendations on who should serve on the committee. He said faith-based and diversity representation would also be sought.

McKinney said the South Carolina Small Business Development Center reported that Greenwood’s 2,259 businesses employ a total of 29,324 employees.

He said the CARES Act allows small business expenses to be reimbursed. His proposal, which initially sought $75,000, was for the county to allocate the money now, then apply for reimbursement.

Some council members thought the amount was too low, especially if the county can be reimbursed. However, Chairman Steve Brown said the county could find itself having to cover the expense should the funds not be reimbursed.

Administrative costs were a concern for some on council who noted that such expenses would reduce how many grants could be awarded. While Dougherty said the Chamber would look at other ways of funding the administrative costs, County Manager Toby Chappell suggested council add in $10,000 for marketing and administrative costs, increasing the amount to $85,000.

The county treasurer or her designee would serve on the committee that approves the grants.

McKinney stressed that the time frame for putting this together is very short. Reimbursement would have to be requested by Dec. 30.

Greenwood City Council will consider a similar program. Uptown Greenwood manager Lara Hudson told County Council that the city will discuss allotting $75,000 toward small businesses at the next City Council meeting.

McKinney said applications will be online.

Contact staff writer James Hicks at jhicks@indexjournal.com or on Twitter @jameshicks3.

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