Toledo establishes grant program to assist very small businesses

TOLEDO (WTVG) - Starting Monday, Toledo's tiniest businesses can apply for some financial relief.

The newly established Emergency Microenterprise Recovery Grants will offer up to $5,000 to small businesses that qualify to help them stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money, coming from the federal CARES Act, can be used to cover expenses that will help them re-open strong.

Michelle Ryan/OWNER, SMOKIN' OLIVE DELI

"It would be so helpful, just knowing that I could keep my doors open and help to serve the community," Michelle Ryan, owner of Smokin' Olive Deli, said. "The neighborhood is so excited to have us there, I would hate to close my doors."

In order to be eligible, businesses must have five or fewer employees, including the owner.

City leaders said the $1 million program should provide grants to about 200 small businesses. A lottery could happen if the volume of applications exceeds the available funding.

Applications for the program will be accepted through May 24. You can find additional information on eligibility requirements and fill out an application (starting Monday) here.

“The city of Toledo has established the emergency microenterprise recovery grant to aid in the economic recovery of microenterprises negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said. “Microenterprises, the smallest businesses in our city, contribute greatly to the vitality of our neighborhoods, support families, create jobs, and are essential to the economic health of our city.”

Toledo's Commissioner of Business Services, Sandy Spang said businesses should apply for other help, too.

"I do want to stress though, there is a conception that the Paycheck Protection Program has completely run out of money. Congress refunded that program with $310 billion and with some new guidelines so that small businesses would not be closed out of the process...Those Paycheck Protection loans are still available from our local banks. So, I would encourage any business that has not taken advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program to call their bank and put in an application for that program as well," she said.