$1 million is now available for US-based small businesses thanks to a grant program announced today by financial firm The Hartford and Main Street America, a nonprofit focused on revitalizing older and historic commercial districts.
The HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program, as the program has been dubbed, will sponsor grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 in size. Brick-and-mortar small businesses with fewer than 20 employees and located within commercial districts are eligible to apply.
Applications are open now through August 23, or after the program has received 500 applicants. Additional funding rounds may be announced later this summer.
The $1 million in funding has been donated by The Hartford.
“The incredible resilience and innovation our small business customers have shown as theyâve adapted to a new normal has been inspiring,” The Hartford’s head of small commercial and personal lines Stephanie Bush said in a statement. “We are committed to providing them with support as they continue to navigate these challenging times.”
The Hartford and Main Street America have also geared this grant program towards helping underserved communities — they’ve pledged that 50% of funds will go towards diverse-owned businesses. This includes ownership by minorities, women, veterans, disabled people, and those identifying as LGBTQ.
The HartBeat Aims To Aid COVID-19 Recovery
Like many financial aid programs launched recently, the economic struggles stemming from COVID-19 inspired the HartBeat program.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on small, locally-owned businesses and they need our support like never before,” said Patrice Frey, the president and CEO of Main Street America’s National Main Street Center. “We are thrilled to partner with The Hartford to alleviate some of the financial burden small businesses are experiencing and support the resilience and recovery of older and historic main streets and commercial districts.”
With its focus on COVID-19 recovery, the HartBeat does have a set of eligible grant expenses for awardees. These requirements include things such as physical improvements to meet COVID-19 safety regulations, equipment for public safety, fees associated with launching eCommerce sales, and business plan modifications. The grants may also be used for rent, payroll, and other operating expenses.
The program’s application notes that final awards will be given out based on “a case by case basis” as well as listing a set of criteria for eligible applicants. To be eligible for the HartBeat’s grants, applicants are required to:
- Run their business within the same state that it does business
- Own a US brick-and-mortar location within an older or historic main street, downtown, or commercial district
- Have been in operation since at least January 1, 2019
- Employ fewer than 20 employees
- Be an owner of the business
- Be over 18 years of age
Note that applicants don’t need to be customers of The Hartford to be eligible for funding, nor is an applicant’s relationship to The Hartford considered.
This is far from the first grant venture from Main Street America. In June, the nonprofit awarded $10,000 each to 10 different businesses as part of its Future of Shopping Small Grant Program, which was run jointly with American Express. Earlier in the year, Main Street America doled out $10,000 apiece to eight different small business programs focused on helping local businesses survive COVID-19.
Other Small Business Grants
Beyond the HartBeat program, small businesses have several other avenues to pursue for grant funding.
To get up to speed on the world of small business grants, check out Merchant Maverick’s primer on the topic. Some may also find our article covering COVID-19 relief grants helpful, too.
Women who own a small business may want to take a peek at Merchant Maverick’s guide to the best business grants for women. We’ve also written about grants for minority-owned businesses as well.
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