Small businesses in 16 of Nevada’s 17 counties have been awarded federal COVID-19 grants through a program managed by Audacity Institute and the city of Wells.
A spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development said the funding is through the Rural Business Assistance program and provides businesses impacted by the pandemic up to $25,000 in forgivable loans to deal with those impacts. The loans are forgiven after participants complete a nine-month online business training and mentoring program.
Patty Herzog, director of Rural Economic and Community Development at GOED, said the program drew applications from more than 300 businesses seeking a piece of the $500,000 available.
“Rural business owners face systematic barriers in access to capital and resources to support them in building and growing businesses of the future,” said Danielle Rees of Audacity Institute. “Reliable Internet access is another challenge.”
She said 61 percent of the applications came from existing businesses and 31 percent from businesses established after February 2021; some 8 percent of the applications were from “ideas” by entrepreneurs.
More than half of the recipients, 55 percent, were female-owned businesses and 45 percent minority owned with 5 percent operated by veterans.
Wells City Manager Jolene Supp said there are hundreds of Nevada businesses that would benefit from the RuBA program.