Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced today that the City of Fort Wayne is working with Brightpoint to help local small businesses survive and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City’s Office of Housing &Neighborhood Services is investing $300,000 to create a Small Business Emergency Relief Program that will be administered by Brightpoint. The funds are part of a $1.7 million one-time allocation provided by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development as part of the CARES Act.
Small businesses make up the vast majority of all businesses in the area. 2018 Census figures show that of Allen County’s 9,269 businesses, 7,465 of them employ fewer than 20 people.
“Small businesses are a crucial piece of keeping our local economy healthy, and yet many of them are struggling to survive the economic hardships created by the pandemic,” said Mayor Henry. “Our priority is to support our local businesses so they, and our economy, come out on the other side of this crisis stronger than ever.”
“We feel it’s critical to support the small businesses in our community” said Steve Hoffman, President/CEO of Brightpoint. “They are providing products and services we all rely on, and are an important source of employment as well. We are excited to partner with the City of Fort Wayne to expand on what we can do to help these businesses survive and thrive.”
The Small Business Emergency Relief Program will be available beginning Monday, August 10, 2020 by calling Brightpoint at 260-423-3546 x.601or 1-800-589-3506 x.601. The application period will be open for two weeks, from August 10 to August 24 and assistance will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The program is available as a zero-interest loan for businesses located within the City of Fort Wayne who have fewer than 30 full-time employees. Loans up to $20,000 are available and the first year’s payments are forgivable. Eligible expenses include but are not limited to rent, utilities, changes to the physical business due to the pandemic, and licenses and application fees.