Phoenix distributing millions of dollars to microbusinesses amid pandemic

Posted at 8:35 AM, Jul 08, 2020

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix and Phoenix IDA have approximately $10 million in grants available to distribute through the Phoenix Small Business Resiliency Grant Program. It's especially for ‘micro-businesses’ with five or few employees that have suffered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

More than $14 million was set aside for three different small business grant opportunities several months ago. The first 85 micro-businesses — meaning the business has five or fewer employees — received a combined $300,000 in the first round of distributions last month. City officials said the program is funded through the federal CARES Act and Community Development Block Grant funding.

Alexis Smith, owner of “D’Signs by Him” in the Biltmore Salon complex, received around $3,000 through the program.

She told ABC15 she’s “very, very thankful” for the program after Arizona’s stay-at-home order forced her to close her salon and she was left “waiting and waiting and never getting any responses” after applying for federal PPP assistance.

“When you want to give up, just stay optimistic and something comes through,” she said, adding the money helped her cover rent, utilities and purchase supplies upon being allowed to reopen.

According to the city, micro-businesses and small businesses with fewer than 25 employees represent more than 70% of all businesses in Phoenix.

The three grant programs have different purposes:

  • The Phoenix IDA Small Business Relief grant assists qualifying small businesses in or near low-income neighborhoods
  • The Phoenix Microbusiness Resiliency Grant is open to businesses with five or fewer employees and under $1million in 2019 gross sales
  • The Phoenix Restaurant Restart Resiliency Grant helped cover the cost of reopening restaurants following the stay-at-home order

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the city’s economic development department said the money set aside for Restaurant Restart grants has been fully distributed, however, millions are still available through the other two programs.

For more information on the requirements and to apply for a grant, click here.