U.S. Chamber of Commerce announces $5,000 grants for small businesses

A business trade group in Washington is offering $5,000 grants to eligible small businesses in low-income neighborhoods as negotiations between Congress and the White House continue over replenishing two federal loan programs that ran out of money last week.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which lobbies on behalf of businesses, will begin taking applications at 3 p.m. Monday for the grants. The group’s foundation is running the funding program.

To be eligible, a business must have been harmed by the coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown of nonessential activities, and have between three and 20 employees. The head count may include the owner but not independent contractors who do work for the business.

The business also must be in an “economically vulnerable community.”  Applicants can see if their village, city or town qualifies by typing into a search box at savesmallbusiness.com

 the ZIP code on the business’ W-9 federal tax form.

On Long Island, the eligible communities include portions of Bay Shore, Bellport, Huntington, Long Beach, Mastic Beach, Patchogue and Riverhead.

“Already, too many small businesses have shuttered, and millions more are teetering on the brink of permanent closure,” said chamber president Suzanne Clark. “We cannot and will not allow our country’s critical small business sector to collapse.”

She and other chamber officials estimated the grant application takes about 10 minutes to complete, if the business owner has their W-9 form.

They said grants will be awarded weekly, but applicant should not apply more than once. Funds will be distributed three to five days after an application is approved.