The Dakota County Board of Commissioners this week approved a Small Business Relief Grant program to provide assistance to small businesses effected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Federal CARES Act dollars totaling $10 million are being used to set up the program.

Grants up to $10,000 will help businesses cover payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills and other operational expenses since March 1, 2020.  The county is partnering with the Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) and program administrator NextStage to provide the small business grants.

Dakota County Board Chair Mike Slavik says, "Small businesses are the threads that keep our communities connected and provide important jobs and resources for residents.  Through this program we hope to stabilize businesses hit hardest during temporary closures and business changes as a result of COVID-19."

Commissioner Chris Gerlach is also CDA Board Chair and says, "I encourage all businesses who may be eligible for these grants to apply.  We know our businesses have suffered tremendously and every job we ca save means more economic security for all of us during these challenging times."

Business qualifications include:

  • Be able to demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Employ the equivalent of 50 or fewer full-time workers.
  • Be a private for-profit business that has a permanent physical location in Dakota County.
  • Be majority-owned by a permanent Minnesota resident.
  • Be in good standing with the Minnesota Secretary of State and Minnesota Department of Revenue as of March 1, 2020.
  • Be in good standing with Dakota County and the city where the business is located.

Online application begins July 27, 2020 with the deadline 4:30 p.m. Friday, August 14, 2020.  Only one application per business.  Incomplete applications will not be accepted.  If the number of applications exceeds available funding a randomized selection process will be used.

A business that has applied for Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development grant program should also apply to the Dakota County program in case they are not selected in the state process.