Grant funding received by the town for a microenterprise grant assistance program is more limited than initially expected.

“What we heard last week confirms that the eligibility is much narrower, frankly, than we thought it might be,” Town Manager Julian M. Suso told the select board Monday, December 21. “For instance, no nonprofit businesses qualify. They can only be private businesses, and there is a whole category of private businesses that do not qualify.”

In order to be eligible for a grant, a small business must have five or fewer employees, with the owner making no more than 80 percent of the area median income.

“For any benefitted business, there is a maximum of $10,000 and it comes in the form of a grant,” Mr. Suso said. “That is the maximum amount that could be given to a qualifying business, and it has to be accompanied by paperwork documentation that confirms that business actually lost that amount of money, if not more, directly attributed to COVID.”

Town administration is evaluating which businesses are and are not eligible and will post the qualifications on the town’s website, Mr. Suso said the grant program is narrower in scope than anticipated; the standards apply throughout the commonwealth.

“We’re going to do everything we can to assist all of our qualified local businesses to the extent that the grant funding is available for that purpose,” he said.

The $156,000 microenterprise grant assistance program is part of a $320,000 grant from the the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development through a block grant program authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The microenterprise grant assistance program will be administered by the Falmouth Economic Development and Industrial Corporation, with the application being posted online at a later date.

The remaining $160,000 in the grant will go to the Falmouth Service Center for food and vocational assistance.

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