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A Guide to Navigating COVID Relief - From DEED

A guide for navigating funding available for business growth 

By DEED Commissioner Steve Grove  
Right now, it’s hard to overstate just how much opportunity there is to receive funding and support from government to help grow our economy. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan has created an extraordinary slate of programs available for economic recovery, and funds appropriated by the state legislature during the 2021 legislative session put forth hundreds of millions of dollars in specific programs for Minnesota businesses and support organizations, too. 

With all that money that’s out there, where should a businesses or support organizations focus their efforts? 

Last month we shared a timeline and program summary of some of the major programs that came out of the 2021 Minnesota Legislative Session and a timeline for program administration. We wanted to go further here to take a look at the big picture of state and federal programs and provide updated guidance on how organizations should consider these programs.  

We’ll organize this information through the lens of what kind of organization you are: 

Small businesses affected by COVID-19 
  • Main Street COVID-19 Relief Grant Program:  
    • Description of program: This is a $70 million program to help small businesses negatively impacted by COVD-19. A significant portion of this $70 million will be dedicated to helping Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) owned small businesses, veteran and women-owned small businesses and small businesses with six or fewer fulltime workers.  
    • Who should apply: private for-profit business or nonprofit organization with primary operations located in the state of Minnesota, at least 50% owned by one or more resident(s) of Minnesota, employ the equivalent of 200 full-time workers or less, able to demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, with minimum total sales or revenue of at least $10,000 for the 2020 or 2019 tax year. 
    • Applications are open through September 29th 
    • Learn more 
  • SBA COVID-19 Relief Options 
    • Description of these programs: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues to offer loans and other assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. 
    • Who should apply: business size limits vary by type of business, program eligibility varies. Application information varies 
    • Learn more. 
New small businesses or startups  
  • Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program:  
    • Description of this program: DEED relies on a continued partnership with more than 20 nonprofits in delivering this program – with its annual appropriation – to reach as many eligible entrepreneurs as possible. It received $1 million in additional funding during this legislative session.  
    • Who should apply: businesses based in Minnesota and owned and operated by one or more Minnesota residents who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color, low-income persons, women, veterans and/or persons with disabilities. 
    • Applications are continually accepted. Businesses must apply directly with a certified lender, although DEED may be able to assist in identifying an appropriate lender. 
    • Learn more 
  • Launch Minnesota: 
    • Description of this program: Launch Minnesota Innovation Grants are targeted to the most promising innovative scalable technology businesses in Minnesota. The Minnesota Legislature reauthorized funding at $1.5 million for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Innovation Grants include: 
      • Business operations: These grants provide up to $35,000 for business operations, including research and development, direct business expenses and technical assistance. 
      • SBIR/STTR Matching Grant: These grants are for first time Phase I and Phase II awardees and will be based on sliding scale of their Federal award (up to $35,000 for Phase I awards and up to $50,000 for Phase II awards). 
    • Who should apply: Firms or entrepreneurs whose primary business activity is in innovative technology or in an innovative business model or product, with business operations and headquarters  located in Minnesota, and has not been in operation for more than 10 years. Business has generated less than $1 million in revenue since inception . Businesses are eligible to receive one of each grant over the two-year period. Increased consideration is given to startups located in Greater Minnesota, as well as businesses owned by women, veterans, and/or owners who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). 
    • Applications open now 
    • Learn more 
  • Angel Tax Credit: 
    • Description of this program: Through the Angel Tax Credit, eligible Minnesota entrepreneurs exchange equity in their fledgling companies for capital from investors to help their startups grow. In return, investors get tax credits equal to a certain percentage of the investment.  
    • Who should apply: Businesses that are headquartered in Minnesota, have a minimum of 51% of employees, 51% of payroll, and 51% of the value of current service contracts performed in Minnesota, have fewer than 25 employees, and meet additional eligibility qualifications
    • Applying for the Angel Tax Credit is a four-step process for businesses seeking investment 
    • Learn more 
 Nonprofit lenders/CDFIs/CDCs 
  • Main Street Economic Revitalization Program 
    • Description of this program: The Main Street Economic Revitalization Program is an $80 million statewide economic redevelopment program that will award grants to partner organizations to establish programs within specific communities to provide grants and guaranteed loans for economic development and redevelopment projects. These projects will address the greatest needs that have arisen in our communities since March 15, 2020 and spur economic revitalization across Minnesota. 
    • Who should apply: Once partnership organizations are selected and programs established property owners, businesses and developers will have the opportunity to request assistance from partner organizations serving their community. 
    • Learn more 
  • The State Small Business Credit Initiative 
    • Description of this program: The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is part of the American Rescue Act (ARPA) of 2021 and included $10 billion for state, territory and tribal business finance programs. Minnesota is expected to receive at least $75 million for state small business financing support. Initial planning has begun and outreach events will be announced soon. Minnesota will be submitting an application for funds once the U.S. Department of Treasury issues official program guidance this summer/fall. The application must be submitted by December 11, 2021 and funds will be awarded once Treasury approves the application in 2022. 
    • No application information is available at this time 
    • Learn more. 
  • Small Business Partnerships Grant Program 
    • Description of this program: The purpose of this grant is to support the start-up, growth, and success of Minnesota’s entrepreneurs and small business owners through the delivery of high quality free or low cost professional business development and technical assistance services. The successful implementation of these grant-funded projects will help facilitate an economic environment that produces job growth and supports the economic success of Minnesota individuals, businesses, and communities by providing opportunities for growth. 
    • Who was encouraged to apply: nonprofits and public entities to provide and facilitate business development assistance and technical assistance services to entrepreneurs and small businesses  
    • Applications closed on Wednesday, September 15th. 
  • Childcare Economic Development Grant Program 
    • Description of this program: This program provides grants to communities to increase the supply of quality child care providers in order to support regional economic development.  
    • Who should apply: Local government units or nonprofit organizations with experience in child care.  
    • Applications for grants opened August 26 and are due September 30. 
    • Learn more 
  • American Rescue Plan Economic Development Administration (EDA) programs 
    • Description of these programs: Federal funding has been allocated to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to assist communities nationwide to recover from the pandemic and build local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks.  The EDA will create six programs:   
    • Who can apply: economic development organizations, tribal organizations, states, counties, cities, political subdivisions, higher education institutions, and public and private nonprofit organizations working with a political subdivision.  
    • Important note regarding application: DEED is not applying for competitive grants but encourages regional economic development organizations to do so. DEED is applying for the state-specific funds in tourism and state planning. We’ll keep you posted on those state-specific funds and how we’re planning to use them. 
    • Learn more  
Foundations and Developers 
  • Main Street Economic Revitalization Program 
    • Description of this program: The Main Street Economic Revitalization Program is an $80 million statewide economic redevelopment program that will award grants to partner organizations to establish programs within specific communities to provide grants and guaranteed loans for economic development and redevelopment projects. These projects will address the greatest needs that have arisen in our communities since March 15, 2020 and spur economic revitalization across Minnesota.
    • Who was encouraged to apply: Once partnership organizations are selected and programs established property owners, businesses and developers will have the opportunity to request assistance from partner organizations serving their community. 
    • Applications for this program were due on September 1st. 
    • Learn more 
Venture Capital Funds 
  • The State Small Business Credit Initiative 
    • Description of this program: The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is part of the American Rescue Act (ARPA) of 2021 and included $10 billion for state, territory and tribal business finance programs. Minnesota is expected to receive at least $75 million for state small business financing support. Initial planning has begun and outreach events will be announced soon. Minnesota will be submitting an application for funds once the U.S. Department of Treasury issues official program guidance this summer/fall. The application must be submitted by December 11, 2021 and funds will be awarded once Treasury approves the application in 2022. 
    • This program is not yet available.  
    • No application information is available at this time 
    • Learn more. 
  • Angel Tax Credit 
    • Description of this program: Through the Angel Tax Credit, eligible Minnesota entrepreneurs exchange equity in their fledgling companies for capital from investors to help their startups grow. In return, investors get tax credits equal to a certain percentage of the investment. 
    • Who should apply: An accredited investor per SEC Reg. D's Rule 501 or a non-accredited investor in certain offerings, and meet additional eligibility qualifications.  
    • Applying for the Angel Tax Credit is a four-step process for investors 
    • Learn more  
We’ll continue to update this post and re-circulate as we have more information or insight to share.  
DEED Developments Blog