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'Economic Resilience Grants' proving popular


The state’s Department of Commerce says the demand for “Economic Resilience Grants” has been very strong.

Those grants are to help businesses provide a safe environment, and to help restore consumer confidence.

The department has $66 million from the CARES Act for that program.

Businesses can receive up to $50,000 – for a single location. And if the business has multiple locations, they can receive up to $100,000.

James Lieman is the director of economic development and finance at the Commerce Department. He said the department has been surprised at the interest in the program.

"We're seeing geographic diversity, company size diversity, as well as sector diversity, which encourages us," Lieman said. "We think we hit the nail on the head with the need here."

Lieman said the list of applicants is pretty extensive, in terms of who qualifies.

"Having a place where people might have been reluctant to come, or you're a manufacturer that's part of the supply chain that can be disrupted, or other businesses," Lieman said.

And Lieman said there's been a variety of items businesses are seeking to pay for with the grant money.

"We've had everything from personal protective equipment for employees, to touchless and divider-type mechanisms for places with frequent traffic," Lieman said. "There's also requests for anti-microbial equipment, touchless toilet-flushing mechanisms or sinks. We're seeing a wide variety."

Lieman said the turn-around time for approval of the grants is about two weeks. He said there’s still some money left, and he’s encouraging businesses to contact the Commerce Department, or the local economic development agency, if they’re interested.

"It is first-come, first-served," Lieman said.

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