Monroe County has extended the deadline for applications for Fast Forward Monroe 2.0 to Oct. 29, 2021.
Fast Forward Monroe 2.0 is a program of grants for small businesses that is funded with an additional $20 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act money, which must be distributed by the end of this year.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and it’s critical we support them as we continue to deal with the ongoing pandemic,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello in a statement. “That’s why I launched the Fast Forward Monroe Small Business Grant Program last year. Through no fault of their own, many small businesses have not yet fully recovered from COVID-related economic hardships. Fast Forward 2.0 helps ensure our small businesses have the support they need to weather these uncertain times. I’d like to thank Congressman Joe Morelle, Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for their help in securing CARES Act funding for this program.”
Since the second phase of Fast Forward Monroe launched on Sept. 8, 921 small businesses have applied for help. Money will be disbursed to eligible businesses by the end of the year.
Monroe County collaborated with community organizations including the Urban League of Rochester, PathStone Enterprise Center and the Ibero-American Action League to make the program more accessible by providing business owners with comprehensive application help and support, including assistance for limited English proficient individuals.
The county Department of Planning and Development hired additional employees to process applications.
The initial Fast Forward program, launched in October 2020, helped more than 1,500 local small businesses survive the pandemic with $22 million of funds from the CARES Act.
Eligible businesses can receive grants of either $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on the number of full-time employees. The money can be used for rent, payroll, operating expenditures or COVID-related business expenses and other funding shortfalls.
Businesses which received funds in the first round of the program are still eligible to receive funds through Fast Forward Monroe 2.0. Businesses that did not receive funding in the first version of the program will be given priority under Fast Forward 2.0.
To apply, visit monroecounty.gov/fastforwardmonroe.
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