City calls for answers for small business relief program

Mayor Jon Mitchell and city officials are asking for answers from local nonprofits interested in supporting small businesses, managing federal funds to provide targeted grants and technical assistance.

The small business relief program is the city’s fourth announcement of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)-funded investments designed to address the economic and public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Bedford-based nonprofits can apply to administer ARPA funds on behalf of the city to not only help small businesses impacted by the pandemic, but also to grow the city’s economy. Non-profit support can include targeted grants, technical assistance, business planning advice and services, as well as capital expenditures such as business incubation spaces in eligible areas, rehabilitation of commercial properties and COVID-19 mitigation measures.

“Facilitating direct support for local small businesses through qualified and experienced nonprofits will drive economic growth and resurgence,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “This program will generate jobs and strengthen ties in our nonprofit and business communities.”

All nonprofits selected to receive funds will complete a subrecipient risk assessment, meet with city staff for pre-award counseling, agree to the requirements outlined in the subrecipient’s grant agreement, Recipient and submit quarterly reports for ARPA compliance.

Partnerships between a New Bedford-based nonprofit and an organization outside of New Bedford are permitted, as long as the local nonprofit is the agency responsible for administering the grants.

Other interventions that support small businesses may be offered beyond those listed above, but they must be related to and reasonably proportionate to the harms caused by the pandemic, and reasonably designed to address the harms identified. The program is designed to be forward-looking and accelerate the development of local businesses as the city emerges from the pandemic, rather than offsetting business losses due to COVID.

“The Small Business Relief Program will align activities and goals as New Bedford-based nonprofits will provide support to small businesses as they get back on their feet, leading to profitability and to a rebound in our city’s economy,” said Ward 5 Councilman Scott Lima, chairman of the council’s redevelopment committee.

Eligible nonprofits can view the Request for Responses on the city’s ARPA website: www.newbedford-ma.gov/arpa.

– April 22, 2022

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