TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Local small business owners who lost money because of the coronavirus shutdown are hurting right now.
Starting next Tuesday, a group will be set up at the BancorpSouth Arena in downtown Tupelo to help those business owners get some money back.
The Back to Business Help and Resource Center is a part of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Back to Business grant program.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton and members of the Tupelo Economic Recovery Task Force held a news conference Monday to announce how the program will work next week.
Brandi Long is a member of the Task Force. She and others announced Monday that small business owners, who have not received government help for their businesses since the pandemic began, can come to the Arena next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and get help applying for the state government grant.
"We're looking for any business that needs help,” Shelton said. “The Back to Business program is great; it utilizes CARES Act funds to get those to small businesses, but it’s also a fairly lengthy application. You have to scan documents; you have to upload it."
Shelton said there will be technical assistance at the Arena next week to help with filing for the potential $25,000 for small business owners.
"We're not going to give legal or accounting advice, but we are going to provide the technical assistance needed to successfully submit those applications."
The organizers said small business owners who have already received government money will not be high on the grant priority list this time. However, businesses that have not will be high on the list, especially if they are minority-owned.
"Initially, minority business owners are the priority,” Task Force member Marcus Britton said. “Minorities have been affected more from the COVID-19 proportionately and so that's a goal.”
If you would like to take part in the program, you should come to the BancorpSouth Arena starting Tuesday, June 23 at 9 a.m. The program will run each day until Thursday.
Britton said his role is to ensure that everything will be handled in a safe way according to CDC guidelines and recommendations.