Tupelo • As announced last week, small businesses with 50 or fewer employees can apply for loans ranging from $1,500 to $25,000. The money, given in the form of grants, does not have to be paid back.

To help businesses navigate through the application process, the City of Tupelo and the Economic Recovery Task Force will offer free help though the Back to Business Help and Resource Center June 23-25 starting at 9 a.m. each day at the BancorpSouth Arena.

The assistance, sponsored by the Lee County Supervisors, United Way, Three Rivers Planning and Development, CDF, CREATE Foundation and Itawamba Community College, will last until 7 p.m. on June 23 and until 4 p.m. June 24-25.

Business owners wanting to apply for the funds must apply and submit necessary documents and are advised to check their eligibility on backtobusinessms.org.

The grant program will be administered by the Mississippi Development Authority. In order to apply for the funds, businesses must have no more than 50 employees, be in good standing with the Secretary of State’s office and one or more controlling interests must be owned by a Mississippi resident.

In May, the Mississippi Legislature appropriated $300 million for small business grants. State lawmakers set aside $60 million in funds to go directly to businesses that were forced to shut down from orders of the state government to slow the spread of the virus. Businesses do not have to apply for these funds.

Of the remaining funds, $40 million has been set aside specifically for minority owned businesses. Another $200 million is set aside for any other small businesses that meet the requirements listed on the website and that have not received any federal Paycheck Protection Program money.

Grants of $1,500 to $25,000 are available. Priority will be given to the businesses that did not receive any PPP money. All businesses are encourage to apply, however.

Under the requirements of the Legislature and the MDA, businesses cannot use the grant funds to make up for lost revenue. The money can only go toward additional expenses incurred during an interruption of business during the pandemic.

For more information about the Help Center, call (662) 841-6513.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com

Twitter: @dennisseid

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