Introduction

The Mower County Board of Commissioners has allocated federal CARES Act funds to support small businesses with financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is also supported financially by the City of Austin. The Mower County COVID-19 Relief Fund (MCCRF) will provide one-time grants up to $10,000 to eligible applicants.

Grant funds can be used for expenses that have occurred since March 1, 2020. Funds can be used for payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills and other operational expenses. It is also meant to cover costs that occurred as a result of complying with COVID-19 executive orders, public health recommendations and expenses related to preparing to reopen.

The MCCRF will be jointly administered by Mower County and the Development Corporation of Austin (DCA).

Eligibility

Businesses must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Businesses or animal agriculture operations with a physical establishment in Mower County, including locally-owned franchises, home-based businesses and mobile businesses.
  • The owner must be a permanent resident of Mower County or one of the counties immediately adjacent to Mower County.
  • Businesses must have no more than 50 full-time equivalent employees. Employees for this grant program may be either W-2 employees or independent contractors.
  • Businesses must have been operating on or before January 1, 2020.
  • Businesses must be in good standing with the Minnesota Secretary of State and Minnesota Department of Revenue as of March 1, 2020.
  • Businesses must demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020.
  • Businesses who received federal funds in the Payment Protection Plan (PPP) and Emergency Incident Deferment Loan (EIDL) are eligible, but Mower County CRF dollars must be used to cover different expenses over and above what was covered by PPP and EIDL.

Certain businesses are ineligible, including:
  • Corporate chains, multi-state chains.
  • Businesses that primarily derive income from gambling. Businesses that derive any income from adult entertainment.
  • Businesses that primarily sell pawned merchandise, guns, tobacco or vaping products. 
  • Businesses that derive income from passive investments; business-to-business transactions; real estate transactions; property rentals or property management; billboards; or lobbying.
  • Businesses who have already received Mower County COVID-19 Relief Fund grant.
  • Owners of multiple businesses in which one of their businesses has already received MCCRF grant funds.
  • Businesses who received the $10,000 Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants approved by the Minnesota State Legislature and signed by Governor Tim Walz on June 16, 2020. Qualified grant recipients have been selected on a lottery basis. Businesses that receive the State grant after receiving the MCCRF grants will be asked to return the MCCRF grant.
  • Lending institutions, law firms, utility companies, residential rental properties, production agriculture, insurance agencies, financial advisors.
  • Nonprofits are not eligible for MCCRF Round 2 funding.


Application Process and Timeline

Applications accepted Monday, November 2, 8 a.m. through Monday, November 9, 4 p.m. The MCCRF Grant application must be completed in its entirety by the applicant and submitted by 4:00 p.m., November 9, 2020. Applications submitted after 4 pm, November 9 will be reviewed only if grant funds remain available after all on time applications are processed. 

If assistance is needed in processing the application, call 507-433-9495. 

Applications are strongly preferred via the online link below. To request to have an application emailed to you, email us at cares@austindca.org. The deadline for requesting an emailed application is 9 am, Monday, November 9 . 

If necessary, completed applications and required documents may be submitted via email at cares@austindca.org.

If applications from eligible businesses exceed the funds available, grant recipients will be ranked by impact until funds are exhausted. Priority of awards will be determined by the impact of Governor Walz COVID-19 Executive Orders limiting businesses operations and by percentage of decrease in net income between March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. In the event of a tie in ranking, applications will be awarded based in the order of submittal (first come, first serve). Incomplete applications will not be accepted.


Confirmation

A confirmation email from cares@austindca.org will be sent to the email address you provide within 24 hours of submittal. If you do not see a confirmation within 24 hours of submittal, first check your spam or junk mail folders. If you still don’t see a confirmation within 24 hours of submittal, email cares@austindca.org or call 507-433-9495 to confirm we received your application. Incomplete applications will also be confirmed as incomplete until 10 am, Monday, November 9. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. To get a confirmation after 10 am, Monday, November 9, call 507-433-9495.