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Local businesses struggling during the pandemic can get assistance from Scott County and the state of Minnesota under two new programs. 

Application deadlines for the assistance programs are coming up in July. Here are more details for each: 

Scott County Small Business Recovery Fund

The program: Businesses in Scott County who meet certain criteria may receive a forgivable loan up to $5,000 through the county Community Development Agency. Additional money may also be available from some cities to increase the number of businesses that get help.

The money can be used for payroll obligations, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, accounts payable, or other critical expenses as approved by the fund administrator. The recovery fund will be administered through NextStage, a local nonprofit that supports small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Eligibility: A small business must demonstrate that its operations have been directly and adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor's executive orders. Businesses must have a physical location within Scott County, have employed between three and 20 full-time employees as of March 1, be under $1 million in annual revenue and have been operating for at least six months prior to March 1.

The agency encouraged all eligible small businesses to apply, especially those owned or managed by women, people of color, veterans and people with barriers to access other business resources.

Applying: The application period begins Monday, July 6, and ends at noon on Friday, July 17. Applications will be evaluated the following week. If applications exceed the money available, NextStage will select recipients using a lottery.

Beginning July 6, applications can be found online at That link has more information about the program, but questions can also be directed to Stacy Crakes, business development director, at or at 952-496-8613.

Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants

The program: Passed by the Legislature this month, this program will provide $10,000 grants to Minnesotan-owned and operated businesses that can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. A total of $60.3 million is available for grant awards, which will be selected through a computer-generated, randomized selection process.

Grant funds received by individual businesses shall be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills and other similar expenses that occur or have occurred since March 1 in the regular course of business. No repayment is needed.

Eligibility: Applicants must:

  • Be a private for-profit business that has a permanent physical location in Minnesota.
  • Be majority-owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota.
  • Be in good standing with the Secretary of State and the Department of Revenue as of March 1.
  • Employ the equivalent of 50 or fewer full-time workers.

Home-based businesses, except for licensed child care providers, aren't eligible.

Applying: Applications are open until 5 p.m. Thursday, July 2. Applications and more information are available online at


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