BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Commerce has introduced the new Economic Resiliency Grant available for North Dakota businesses.

“Time is of the essence to make sure that we’re moving forward, and not backward, with economic activity,” North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer said in a special business briefing call Thursday, July 9.

The $66.4 million grant, approved at the June 25 North Dakota State Legislature’s Budget Section hearing, was developed to provide funding specifically to private companies in North Dakota, allowing them to make investments in their facilities, business systems, equipment or supplies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections and inspire consumers to return to the marketplace.

While eligibility for the grant is broad, Kommer said, its spirit and intent is to inspire consumer confidence. Offices without customer traffic will typically be ineligible, as will personal or private residential improvements. Home-based businesses may still have eligible expenses, however, such as child care facilities or agricultural-based businesses operating outside the home.

Applicants may qualify to receive grant funding up to $50,000 for one permanent physical location in North Dakota, Kommer said, which they must have in order to qualify. For private companies with more than one physical location, the application is capped at $100,000.

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Kommer pointed out some of the grant’s key points:

  • Funds must be used as proposed within 45 days.
  • Documentation must be submitted to support expenditures, or the funds must be returned.
  • The investments proposed in the application must be for the purpose of decreasing the spread of infection.
  • Applicants are required to demonstrate how they directly interface with consumers, or how the proposed improvements directly benefit consumers through supply-chain impacts.

Other caveats and nuances also apply.

Kommer stressed the importance of keeping copious documentation, and she urged businesses to reach out to the Department of Commerce with specific questions as the grant details unfold.

The ERG application process is anticipated to open July 31, Kommer said, although the effort to get it up and running has been “a Herculean lift” for the department.

Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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