This week, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation to appropriate $60 million for small businesses in crisis from the stay at home orders and coronavirus pandemic. The bill was passed with bipartisan support. The bill takes $57.6 million from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund and $2.4 million from the Small Business Guarantee Loan program to provide relief grants to Minnesota small businesses.

“Small businesses and their workers are right on the edge of survival,” said Senate Finance Chair Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center). “For many businesses, the assistance in this bill might mean the difference between making it or not. But it’s a band-aid. Businesses need to reopen. I am glad to see the governor lift the stay home order, and I hope he sticks with his commitment to reopen remaining businesses on June 1.”

A business is eligible if it has a brick and mortar location in Minnesota, is owned by a permanent resident, employs 50 or fewer full-time staff, and can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Once approved, eligible businesses may receive grants of up to $10,000 to use for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar business expenses.

The bill designates $30 million to be distributed to businesses in Greater Minnesota and $30 million for distribution in the seven-county metropolitan area. At least $18 million of the funds would be designated for microbusinesses of 6 or fewer employees. A minimum of $15 million must be awarded to minority-owned, veteran-owned, and women-owned businesses.