Back to Business Brunswick, a plan to combat the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, is now accepting applications for grants and low-interest loans for small businesses.

Mathew Hill, director of the Brunswick Downtown Development Authority, said his office will accept applications and be responsible for the distribution of funds in the development authority’s boundaries.

The Golden Isles Development Authority will be responsible for distributing funds to businesses within city limits that are outside the downtown development authority’s jurisdiction.

The first loan program, called Capital Assistance and Relationship Lending, provides emergency micro-loans and a larger secured loan of up to $20,000 for new and existing businesses.

“The creation of this program stemmed from the lack of lending relationships that existed with businesses and financial institutions at the start of the pandemic,” according to the announcement. “Many small businesses struggled to receive assistance, like the Paycheck Protection Program, due to these deficiencies.”

A key element in the program is to establish working and lending relationships between the city’s entrepreneurs and financial institutions.

The second program, the Property Stabilization and Market Ready, is designed to structurally stabilize culturally and/or historically significant buildings and to rehabilitate the interior for actual use. Buildings such as those in the Norwich and Albany street corridors may qualify.

The main objective is to correct the ruin and decay of commercial buildings and to provide usable space for future entrepreneurs within those communities.

The Brunswick Relief Grant provides relief to small businesses that may have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. A matching grant of up to $15,000 will be awarded quarterly to qualified business owners. And a $5,000 non-matching grant may be added for workforce development.

Business owners may use the funds for internships, hiring bonuses, raises and continuing education courses. And businesses that hire graduates from the College of Coastal Georgia, Coastal Pines Technical College, the STAR Foundation, and the Golden Isles College and Career Academy, may receive additional funds.

Small businesses anywhere in the city can call the Brunswick Downtown Development Authority at 265-4032 to apply for a loan or grant or for more information. Or go to the city website and click on the Downtown Development Authority link.

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