- Kenton Tsoodle
Program to help small businesses, nonprofits
The OKC Rescue Program is now accepting applications to help Oklahoma City small businesses and nonprofits with COVID-19 economic recovery. The program covers the cost of business services including marketing, accounting, or business planning; and reimbursements for outdoor facade improvements or facility modifications made to help cope with the pandemic. To qualify, the business or nonprofit must be located in Oklahoma City with 100 or fewer employees. Applicants must either be a minority-owned business, be located within a Qualified Census Tract (majority low-income neighborhoods) or demonstrate economic impact of COVID-19.
The program offers three types of support, all requiring funds be spent by the end of 2024. Technical assistance provides up to $15,000 in services such as marketing, new websites, HR, financial, business planning and architecture and engineering services through pre-screened local vendors.
The two other programs are for businesses only: Facade and storefront improvements and pandemic mitigation funds will reimburse minority-owned businesses and those in the Qualified Census Tract up to $25,000 per program for expenses such as window repair, signage, new ventilation systems, outdoor seating or partitions. These projects can be completed in the past year or planned for the next 12 months.
We designed the new OKC Rescue Program to meet the most pressing needs while helping the smallest and most vulnerable businesses. Research shows that minority-owned businesses have been negatively affected by COVID-19 at a higher and more severe rate, so our programs lowered barriers to entry with fewer financial documents required and a streamlined application process. For example, a business or nonprofit can show economic impact of COVID-19 with lower revenue or with higher costs in labor, materials, supplies or operations.
We are reaching out to nonprofits and minority-owned businesses through social media, emails and community outreach. The Alliance has agreements with several community partners, including the Latino Community Development Agency, Black Chamber, Hispanic Chamber and others, to reach more businesses, answer questions and provide one-on-one help with applications.
Please help us spread the word by telling small businesses and nonprofits you work with about the program.
The OKC Rescue Program is administered by the Alliance for Economic Development for Oklahoma City and is funded by the city of Oklahoma City’s allocation from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. For details, visit www.okcrescueprogram.com.