More than 6,000 small businesses in Minnesota received $10,000 grants last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The grants came through the Small Business Relief Grants program.

The program – created last June by the state legislature – was available to Minnesotan owned and operated businesses that could demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. DEED partnered with the Minnesota Lottery to ensure fairness in the distribution of funds, according to information from the department.

In all 6,151 small businesses received the grants last year, totaling $61.51 million that was awarded. The department said businesses were selected through a randomized lottery process after the application period closed in July. Those chosen were screened to ensure they met eligibility requirements.

“We know that small businesses have suffered the most during this pandemic, so this program was designed to help them,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “These dollars helped thousands of businesses weather some of the worst months of the pandemic, and we look forward to better days ahead for the state’s business community.”

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

More than 60% of the grants were disbursed by Sept. 30 and more than 75% by Oct. 31. Awards were administered and disbursed by qualified local and regionally based nonprofit organizations across the state.

“These funds are able to reach more than 6,000 businesses across Minnesota because of the hard work and commitment of our nonprofit partners,” said DEED Deputy Commissioner Kevin McKinnon.

DEED has provided a searchable map that shows all of the grants that were awarded. In keeping with the legislation, at least half of the funding was awarded to businesses in Greater Minnesota. Awards also included:

· 4,316 grants to microbusinesses (defined as having six or fewer employees)

· 2,977 grants to woman-owned businesses

· 263 grants to veteran-owned businesses

· 1,276 grants to BIPOC-owned businesses (whose owners identify as Black, Indigenous or a Person of Color)

More than 27,400 businesses applied for the grants during the application period last summer. The department said when additional federal funding was made available in December, more recipients were selected from the wait list.