Clendenin business owner Sug Sams had a Diet Coke in her hand and a smile on her face Monday at the state capitol after learning about the new RISE West Virginia program for small businesses impacted by the June 23 flood.
“We have to get restocked for the citizens,” Sams said of her Sams Auction business. “This will help us restock it and my goal is that within two weeks to be back in regular business thanks to the (West Virginia) Chamber of Commerce and the governor’s grant.”
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, House of Delegates Tim Armstead and others unveiled the new program at a Monday morning news conference. Small business owners in 12-county flood zone can apply for grants of up to $10,000, which won’t have to be paid back, like loans. Eligibility will be based on need and recommendations from a review committee. Larger grants may be available for special circumstances.
[To learn more about the RISE program, and to access application forms, visit wvflood.com.]
A grant of this size could be significant for small business owners, Tomblin and Armstead both said.
“They work on a very small margin and what $10,000 would do for a lot of those would be very helpful,” Tomblin said.
“That may not sound like a lot but to be able to put drywall up or to clean out their businesses or to restock things, that will really be a help to them,” Armstead said.
The program is a public-private partnership between the state and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Tomblin’s goal is reach a minimum of $2 million. Part of the state’s share will come from the Racetrack Modernization Fund. Tomblin said the owners of the casinos in West Virginia said they will not apply for the funds this year in order to help the long term flood recovery effort.
West Virginia native, chairman and CEO of software giant Intuit, Brad Smith is co-sponsoring the program. His family has committed a $500,000 donation. Smith’s company will donate free products to small businesses, like QuickBooks accounting, to help with the recovery…