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RALEIGH — North Carolina businesses and nonprofit organizations that missed out on other COVID-19 relief funds will have the opportunity to apply for a new state grant program.

The NC Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for job retention grants, which offer up to $250,000 to help companies maintain their workforce. The grant application window ends on September 1.

The funding for the grant comes from the $500 million coronavirus relief measure signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on July 1. State lawmakers specifically provided $15 million for this grant fund.

In order to be eligible for this grant, businesses must meet several qualifications. The business must not have participated in the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the federal Main Street Lending Program, or the North Carolina Rapid Recovery Loan Program. Also, the business must have employed at least 90 percent of the number of full-time workers from March 1 to May 31 as it did at the end of February. Eligible businesses must exhibit that they experienced an economic loss due to the pandemic as well. In order to do so, the business must prove that its sales from March 1 to May 31 are at least 10 percent below sales for that period the year prior. For a nonprofit, that requires its gross receipts for the COVID-19 period are at least 10 percent below its gross receipts for the same period last year.

The total of all funds granted under the Job Retention Grant Program may not exceed $15 million. If the total amount of grants requested by qualified applicants exceeds the maximum amount of funds available, each grant award will be reduced on a proportionate basis.

For questions or more information, email jrg@nccommerce.com.

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