Loudoun’s COVID-19 Business Interruption Fund process is nearing its completion, according to the vision approved by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors two weeks ago.
Here is everything you need to know about the fund so far and where it goes from here.
Where We’ve Been:
The Business Interruption Fund, which was designed to disperse a total of $1.4 million in $5,000-$10,000 increments to Loudoun businesses adversely affected by the novel coronavirus, was first advertised to the public on April 22nd. Within the funding, $1 million was drawn from the Business Commercial Incentive Fund, typically used to attract and retain businesses to the county. An additional $150,000 was drawn from a fund that is typically used to attract and retain agriculture-based businesses, and was earmarked for members of the Loudoun Made, Loudoun Grown program. Lastly, the Loudoun Economic Development Authority voted to contribute $250,000 to boost the total amount available.
In advance of the fund opening, LoudounBusinessFund.org was created with instructions, terms and conditions, FAQs and a test form. More than 500 businesses took advantage of a test form, and were alerted to apply on the official form when the fund opened at noon on April 29.
In the first four hours of the Business Interruption Fund being open, more than 600 businesses applied, representing a cross-section of Loudoun’s economy. After the fund closed at noon on May 2, we needed the combined efforts of county staff from Economic Development, the Treasurer’s Office, Finance, and Loudoun Cooperative Extension to conduct all of the necessary business outreach for verification and the collection of documents. Without their help, which went well above and beyond their normal jobs, we would not be able to disperse this money in a timely fashion.
After another internal review to judge eligibility, the remaining businesses have been placed into a pool for random selection.
What We’ve Learned:
This is a first-of-its-kind fund to address an unprecedented health crisis that has had a devastating effect on the business community. We automated, tested and refined the process before opening the application, and it still required a collaborative response.
We worked to execute the vision of the Board of Supervisors, and those conversations with business owners weren’t always easy. Every business is hurting right now and this fund will only help so many of them. However, it was a good opportunity to work with business owners to find funding and resources that are tailored to address their needs.
Out of the 1,200 plus applications, Roger Zurn, Janet Romanchyk and Buddy Rizer certified 671 businesses (full list posted to LoudounBusinessFund.org). Those that did not meet the Board’s criteria were mostly due to not having three employees (or more than 100), could not show 25% in losses, or exceeded the $2.5 million threshold.
The approximate breakdown is as follows:
Loudoun Made, Loudoun Grown
- Total Certified Applications: 50
- Grant Awards: $5,000
- Total Amount: $250,000 (50)
- Total Certified Applications: Six
- Grant Awards: $10,000
- Total Amount: $60,000 (6)
3-50 Employees / 3-100 Home-Based Employees
- Total Certified Applications: 615
- Grant Awards: $7,500
- Total Awarded: 1,090,000 (145)
While we initially envisioned three different tranches and eligibility requirements for businesses, the needs of the business community show that more money was needed for some tranches than others. We are able to fund all of the applicants in the Loudoun Made, Loudoun Grown tranche and the 51-100 employee tranche. We will be able to use the remaining money to fund even more businesses than anticipated in the 3-50 employee tranche.
In total, this fund will be able to help more than 200 Loudoun businesses!
What Comes Next:
Today at 2 p.m., Loudoun Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer will begin the random drawing process at the Loudoun County Government building in Leesburg.
At the end of the process, all grant-receiving applications and business names will be posted on LoudounBusinessFund.org, and contacted via email to discuss next steps, which includes providing financial information for the Economic Development Authority to coordinate the payout.
All applicants that did not receive funding will also be contacted with additional resources and funding opportunities to consider.
Questions can be asked at any time through our email, or by calling 1-800-LOUDOUN.