New SBA funding for restaurants opens next week

Priority will be given to owners who have been socially or economically disadvantaged.

Restaurants, food trucks and other businesses in the food industry will be able to apply for federal grant funding next week to help them recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is administering the $28.6 billion program, called the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. It’s part of the American Rescue Plan.

According to the SBA, food service businesses can receive a grant of $1,000 to $10 million. The most one location can receive is $5 million. Money must be spent on things like payroll costs, rent payments and operating expenses.

Business owners can begin registering for an account on April 30, and the program officially launches May 3 with a 21-day priority period.

“We really are intentional about focusing on minorities, women, veterans and other socially and economically disadvantaged individuals,” said Mike Arriola, acting SBA director for North Carolina.

The SBA defines members of these groups as people “who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity” or people “whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business area who are not socially disadvantaged.”

The North Carolina SBA District Office is hosting a series of webinars in partnership with local organizations from different regions across the state.

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Arriola says the webinars are split regionally but that anyone from across the state can join.

“This is going to be a very, very popular program because, of course, it is free money,” Arriola said. “But it’s also aimed at an industry that’s been extremely hard hit.”

The program doesn’t have a deadline and will run until funds are exhausted.

North Carolina Restaurant Revitalization Fund Webinars:

Wednesday, April 28 at 10 a.m.

NC Small Business & Technology Development Center and the SBA

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Thursday, April 29 at 12:00

Women’s Business Center of Charlotte and the SBA

Thursday, April 29 at 2 p.m.

NC Small Business & Technology Development Center and the SBA

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