LOUISVILLE, Ky.  — Louisville Forward's Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program now has an additional $6.4 million for Louisville's small businesses.

What You Need To Know

  • Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program receives $6.4 million

  • Funds come from unspent federal CARES money

  • Louisville Forward says it's helped 560 businesses impacted by COVID-19

  • Funds can be used for payroll, utilities, mortgage, other expenses

The funds come from unspent federal CARES money, which must be spent by Dec. 30, 2020, carried forward from fiscal year 2020 into fiscal year 2021.

"Louisville's small businesses make up the fabric of our community and employ thousands of Louisvillians. By helping sustain them through this pandemic, we are preserving part of who we are as a city,” said Chief of Louisville Forward Mary Ellen Wiederwohl.

According to Opportunity Insights, a non-partisan research and policy institute based at Harvard University, overall revenue among small businesses in Louisville has decline by nearly 20 percent because of the pandemic.

“When talking to small business owners in Louisville, it is clear that the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program has been a lifeline for many of them as they continue to feel the financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to receive the additional funding to help even more small businesses,” said Rebecca Fleischaker, economic development director.  “I also want to thank our Small Business Team and Review Committee members for all of their hard work as we have moved quickly to get aid to businesses in need.”

As of Monday, Louisville Forward announced it has helped 560 businesses impacted by COVID-19, with $19.7 million of the initial $21 million granted. Of the dollars granted, 26.7 percent has gone to minority-owned businesses, and 35.7 percent has been awarded to women-owned businesses.

The program's six-person Review Committee has applications in the pipeline to review and vote on, and without the new funds, Louisville Forward says the applications would not have been able to receive funding through the program.

Over 1,000 applications have been submitted by small businesses since its launch on July 1, Louisville Forward says.

The funds can be used to cover payroll, utilities, lease or mortgage payments, and fixed costs like interest on debt service or business insurance. Businesses can also use the money to implement technology for online sales.

The Review Committee reviews and votes on all grant applications during meetings streamed live on Develop Louisville's Facebook page each Thursday at 2 p.m.