The City of Fort Wayne and Brightpoint are teaming up to give small businesses a hand during the tough financial times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At an Aug. 5 press conference, city and Brightpoint officials announced their new initiative, the Small Business Emergency Assistance Program, which could help businesses with up to $ 20,000 in cash.

“There is no question that small businesses are one of our biggest employers,” Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry told the crowd at Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St. “And we have to. do all we can to help them thrive and survive.

The funds are part of a $ 300,000 invested by the city’s Housing and Neighborhood Services office. The money originally came from a $ 1.7 million allocation from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development under the recently passed CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security) law.

The loans will be available for businesses within city limits that have less than 30 full-time employees. The credit amount is $ 20,000 and the first year payments are forgivable.

Expenses eligible for coverage by the capital include – but are not limited to – rent, utilities, physical changes that had to be made due to the pandemic, as well as licenses and fees. of request.

“Small businesses are a crucial part of keeping our local economy healthy, yet many of them are struggling to survive the economic hardships created by the pandemic,” added Henry. “Our priority is to support our local businesses so that they, and our economy, emerge on the other side of this crisis stronger than ever.”

The most recent government figures show that small businesses make up the majority of businesses in Northeast Indiana. The 2018 U.S. Census shows that of Allen County’s 9,269 businesses, 7,465, or over 80 percent, employ fewer than 20 people.

“We believe it is essential to support the small businesses in our community,” added Steve Hoffman, President and CEO of Brightpoint. “They provide products and services that we all rely on and are also an important source of jobs. We are excited to partner with the City of Fort Wayne to develop what we can do to help these businesses thrive and survive.

The relief program will begin accepting phone calls on August 10. Businesses can call Brightpoint at 260-423-3546, ext. 601 or 1-800-589-3506, ext. 601.

The application period will be open for two weeks – from August 10 to 24 – and assistance will be provided on a first come, first served basis.

“We’re starting to get calls on Monday,” Hoffman said. “So we ask anyone who needs help to contact us.

“We not only want to help small businesses overcome this challenge, but also grow out of it prosperous. “

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