Applications open August 12 for small business grants through the Olmsted County Small Business Relief Fund

Olmsted County and RAEDI logos

As part of its investment plans for $19.1 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners announced on August 4, 2020 that it is allocating $5 million in economic support to organizations affected by COVID-19:

  • $4 million grant program for small businesses administered by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI). 
  • $1 million grant program for non-profits administered by the Rochester Area Foundation.

Olmsted County Small Business Relief Fund

RAEDI will accept grant applications online for the $4 million small business program beginning Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at noon until Sunday, August 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. 

Full details about the application process are available on the RAEDI website now at 

In summary:  

  • Grants up to $25,000 will be awarded to small businesses owned and operated in Olmsted County that can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, specifically a 30% or greater decrease in net profit.
  • Grant funds shall be used to cover business expenses since March 1, 2020, including but not limited to payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other expenses in the regular course of business. 
  • These are grants and no repayment will be required; they are not loans.
  • Home-based businesses are welcome to apply.

To qualify, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Be majority-owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota.
  • Be a private business with a physical presence in Olmsted County. 
  • Employ fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees as of March 1, 2020. 
  • Have been operating prior to March 1, 2020.
  • Be licensed, in good standing with the Minnesota Secretary of State as of March 1, 2020, and current on property taxes prior to May 15, 2020, if applicable.
  • Can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Priority will be given to businesses:

  • Directly impacted by Governor Walz’s Executive Orders to close.
  • That employ six or fewer people.
  • That are majority owned by military veterans, women, and/or ethnic or racial minorities.
  • That have not received funding from other government sources.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a significant blow to small businesses across the county,” said Olmsted County Chief Executive Officer Wilfredo Román Cátala. “Olmsted County is pleased to partner with RAEDI to provide relief to local businesses during this time of hardship.” 

“The ongoing pandemic has negatively impacted a lot of our area’s businesses,” said RAEDI President Ryan Nolander. “Through this partnership with Olmsted County, we hope these CARES Act dollars can provide some assistance to those businesses hurting and help them through this ongoing situation.” 

Grant program for Olmsted County non-profits

Details about the $1 million grant program for non-profits administered by the Rochester Area Foundation will be shared soon.