The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has announced the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants program – which was approved by the Minnesota legislature and signed by Governor Tim Walz – is currently accepting applications.

This program will provide $10,000 grants to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees are eligible.

Half of the funding will go to businesses in rural Minnesota and half to businesses in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, as required by law.

Additional requirements include:

• $18 million for businesses with six or fewer full-time employees

• $10 million for minority business enterprises

• $2.5 million for veteran-owned businesses

• $2.5 million for women-owned businesses

• $2.5 million for operators of indoor retail and food markets with an ethnic cultural emphasis

“Small businesses across our state urgently need this relief,” said Steve Grove, DEED commissioner.

The application period began June 23 and closes at 5 p.m. July 2 in order to fulfill the 10-day period required by the law.

A randomized, computer-generated lottery process will be used to select eligible businesses that will receive awards.

All awards will be administered by qualified local and regionally based non-profit agencies, and the grant funds can be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills and other similar business expenses.

To be eligible, businesses must have a permanent physical location in Minnesota and be majority owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota.

Businesses must be able to demonstrate hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Additional eligibility requirements and application information can be found online at DEED’s Small Business Relief Grants page.

For more information visit mn.gov/deed/.