Improving Business in the Wilmington Region

New Hanover County Initiates a Small Business Economic Incentive Grant Program

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Small businesses in New Hanover County that have been impacted by COVID-19 can apply Monday, June 1 through Friday, June 5 for a $10,000 grant through the Small Business Grant Program the county created, utilizing federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Following a public hearing at its meeting Monday, the Board of Commissioners approved the $1.3 million program, which will provide grants of $10,000 each to 130 small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

“We appreciate all of the sacrifices being made daily by our small business community during this pandemic,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “They have borne the brunt of restrictions and mandatory closures enacted to keep people safe and reduce the rate of infections from COVID-19. Creating this fund is an important step to provide a lifeline to our local small businesses during this crisis.”

Businesses with fewer than 25 employees that are located in New Hanover County and whose owner lives in New Hanover County are eligible for the grant. Funds can be used to hire or rehire employees, and for expenses related to providing social distancing and enhanced sanitation measures to ensure safe reopening.

Small businesses can apply Monday through Friday, June 5 at 5 p.m. to be placed in a lottery system that will randomly select the 130 awardees. The application and instructions, which are available in English and Spanish, can be accessed here.

“New Hanover County is committed to supporting businesses through safe reopening and recovery, and I appreciate the leadership of the board to prioritize our small business community and provide this important economic incentive,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet. “The county wanted to make these funds easy to access, so the application process is simple and takes only minutes to fill out. And we hope to have this money in the hands of 130 businesses within a matter of weeks.”

Wilmington Business Development (WBD) and Live Oak Bank will serve as third-party administrators of the program, with WBD collecting applications and Live Oak Bank disbursing the funds after awardees are selected. Both entities are providing their services free of charge.

“We felt it was the right thing to do to help our community during this difficult time,” said Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development. “We look forward to helping the county provide an important service to struggling small businesses.”

“Live Oak is proud to partner with New Hanover County to get much-needed capital into the hands of small business owners in our own backyard,” said Huntley Garriott, Live Oak Bank President. “Our small business community is vital to our county’s economic prosperity and we are happy to play a part in facilitating this program.”

After the application deadline on June 5, businesses will be randomly selected through a computerized lottery system and will be notified around June 10. Selected business will be required to provide additional documentation and then the funds will be disbursed by mid-to-late June. Minority and women-owned businesses are encouraged to apply.

New Hanover County was allocated $4,064,953 through the CARES Act to be applied toward expenses incurred in response to COVID-19. At the May 18, 2020 Board of Commissioners meeting, the board approved a spending plan for these funds, which included a Small Business Grant Program. The grant program is explicitly allowed as a use of the funds, according to guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department.

Learn more about the grant program, who is eligible, and view a list of Frequently Asked Questions here.