Urbana Economic Support Grant extended

By Bénédicte Yenyi Mulumba

Urbana- The city of Urbana extended its economic Support Grant that helps Urbana businesses to purchase necessary protective and sanitizing equipment to facilitate the safe return of customers and employees to their businesses.

The new deadline to apply is now May 28, and the city is urging business owners to apply. A reminder that revisions to the grant allow for reimbursement of rent and utility expenses during the same time period as long as those expenses were not already covered by other grants or government funds. Revisions also allow for single owner/employee businesses to apply. 

The only expenses that will be reimbursed are the ones that happened between March 1, and Dec. 30, 2020. Expenses have to be qualified with proof of purchase and documentation. Qualified expenses such as safety items and improvements purchased due to the COVID-19 pandemic that was incurred during that eligible time period.

Some examples of extraordinary expenses include:

  • Rent and utilities
  • Outdoor heating equipment
  • Purchase or rental of tents for outdoor dining or retail services
  • Outdoor heating equipment
  • Software or subscription fees to for online or via touchless systems
  • Touchless fixtures (ex. sinks, toilets, foot door pulls)
  • Ventilation improvements (MERV-13 or higher filtration)
  • Hydrostatic wands
  • Specialized sanitizing/cleaning services
  • Cost of installation for the above-mentioned items

” This grant program is intended to assist Urbana businesses by reimbursing funds to alleviate the extraordinary expenses incurred by employers to purchase equipment that would not have otherwise been necessary to business operations but due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The city website states.

All grant applications are subject to the availability of funding. Priority will be given to those industries that have been most affected by state and local closure mandates such as Hospitality Businesses,  Retail and Service Businesses, Office and Industrial.

Businesses that meet the criteria and eligibility may receive up to a $20,000 grant. Minimum requirements for a business to be considered are as follow:

  • Business must be located within the City of Urbana.
  • Business must currently be open.
  • 2019 Net Annual Revenue must not exceed $2,000,000
  • Business must operate in a physical location outside of a residence.
  • Business must have one or more full-time employees.
  • Business cannot have received funding through the State of Illinois’ Business Interruption (BIG) Grant program.

Bénie Yenyi

Bénédicte “Bénie” Yenyi Mulumba is a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in political science. She's currently a member of UI7 Live and a researcher in political science department. She was an intern at the China Post when studying abroad in Taiwan. She worked as a news reporter for the Daily Illini, as a writer for Her Campus student-magazine and as an editor for The Spectator - which is Heartland Community College’s magazine. She’s a member of the Black journalists of Illinois chapter and a member of UNICEF. Bénie is fluent in French, English, and Lingala. She’s aspiring to be an international reporter and work with international organizations.