Applications begin Monday for Leesburg Business Assistance Grants

The Town of Leesburg will soon give its own financial relief to town businesses and nonprofits.

Since the Town Council voted to support a staff recommendation to use the majority of its CARES Act federal stimulus funding to provide grants to small businesses and nonprofits, town staff has been working to finalize the eligibility criteria. 

Last week, a memorandum of agreement between the town and the county’s Economic Development Authority was finalized, as the county receives the funds directly from the federal government and then distributes it to localities. The MOA notes that a little more than $3 million of Leesburg’s $4.7 million in CARES funds will go toward small business grants, as determined by the council. Per the MOA, the screening committee to determine which small businesses are eligible for funding, and how much they will receive, consists of Deputy Town Manager Keith Markel, Economic Development Director Russell Seymour, Business Development and Retention Manager Melanie Scoggins, Senior Management Analyst Cole Fazenbaker, Management and Budget Officer Jason Cournoyer, Controller Lisa Stillman, and Emergency Management Coordinator Joe Dame. 

According to criteria endorsed by the council, in-town businesses that employ between up to 50 employees and have annual gross taxable earnings between $25,000 and $100,000 may be eligible for a one-time $2,500 grant. Businesses with annual gross taxable earnings between $100,001 and $1 million may be eligible for a one-time $5,000 grant. To qualify, a business must employ up to 50 employees, show a minimum loss of 25 percent in gross revenue attributable to COVID-19, and be in good standing with the town on all tax payments and related business licenses.

Markel said he hopes to have the online application form to apply for a small business grant open by Monday, July 6. The application period is expected to remain open for one week, through July 13. Markel said the staff is testing the online application to ensure it’s working well prior to going live.

If more applications are received than the town has funding, Markel said a lottery process will determine the recipients of the small business grants. Priority will be given to those businesses who have not already received funding support from Loudoun County in its grant programs.

Markel said he hopes to finish review of applications within two weeks of the deadline, and will then forward the information on small business grant recipients on to the EDA. Per state law, the town government is not able to distribute funding directly to businesses, so the EDA will issue the payments. 

The application period for nonprofits that serve Leesburg residents is expected to follow closely behind. The council has targeted $1 million of its CARES funding to be given out to nonprofits that address the medical or financial impacts suffered by town residents because of COVID-19. The council set a cap grant of $50,000 per nonprofit. Markel said a small community selection committee will help to determine which nonprofits receive funding. He said hopes are to have the council approve those nonprofit grants at its Aug. 11 meeting. 

Applications for both the small business and nonprofit grants will be available on the town website, which will also have a corresponding information page and Frequently Asked Questions section. 

Leesburg will use the remaining $772,000 of its CARES funding for government-related expenses related to the pandemic, including technology upgrades, the purchase of personal protective equipment, and facility modifications to adhere to social distancing, to name a few.

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