The Falmouth Economic Development and Industrial Corporation has begun reviewing applications from small business owners seeking funding through the Community Development Block Grant program. 

"The last time I looked, we had about four completed applications and we had maybe about 13 in progress," EDIC executive director Michael DiGiano said on Tuesday, March 9. "That was pretty good for the first week of it being open." 

Mr. DiGiano and administrator Lynne Broderick are reviewing the applications to make sure they are complete. Completed applications will then be reviewed by a grant committee. Serving on the committee are EDIC board member Michael B. Galasso, Falmouth Chamber of Commerce president Michael D. Kasparian and Mark Lowenstein from SCORE Cape Cod.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available to qualified small business owners. To be eligible for a grant, a business must have five or fewer employees, with the owner making no more than 80 percent of the area median income. Eighty percent of the area median income is $54,150 for an individual, $61,850 for a couple, $69,600 for a family of three and $77,300 for a family of four. 

Applications are due by March 31 and can be completed on the EDIC website, falmouthedic.org. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. 

"It took us quite a bit to get this portal set up, but I think it was well worth it, because it really has allowed the applicant to, I think, very quickly complete the application process and upload their income and business information, which is sensitive, personal information, in a secure portal," Mr. DiGiano said. "I think it has really simplified the process." 

The town was awarded $160,000 for this grant program. While most of the funds will be awarded to small businesses, the EDIC incurred $11,160 in administrative expenses, $7,800 of which went to purchase a one-year subscription to the Neighborly Software system. 

"Overall, so far, I think the portal is working really well," Mr. DiGiano said. 

If the EDIC receives additional money, committee member Christopher R. Simmler asked if the Neighborly Software program could be used to administer those grants. 

"We'd have to see what these new programs are with these new sources of funds," Mr. DiGiano said. "We'd have to talk to Neighborly to see how much of this could be modified to handle that. This portal, this software, was specifically developed for this microenterprise program."

The remaining $3,360 in administrative expenses covers staff time and marketing costs. The program has been promoted in the Falmouth Enterprise, on Falmouth Community Television and through both the EDIC and Falmouth Chamber of Commerce email lists.

There will also be a Zoom-based public meeting to detail the grant process and answer questions applicants may have. The date of the meeting is to be determined. 

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