Relief still available for small businesses, $151 million left unclaimed

JACKSON, Tenn. — Time is running out for small businesses in Tennessee to receive additional financial relief.

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In August, Governor Bill Lee used money from the federal coronavirus relief fund to provide grants to small business whose income was affected.

Monique Merriweather, director of Small Business Development Center, has helped dozens of local small businesses with applying for that funding.

“Receiving this Tennessee business relief program funding has determined whether some business will close or not because they were able to receive these funds,” Merriweather said.

Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group set aside up to $200 million in extra funds.

She says so far, only 20,000 small business have applied statewide.

“There is roughly $151 million statewide that has not been claimed,” Merriweather said. “That’s kind of where we are right now, we’re in frantic mode because we’re trying to get this money out to small businesses.”

Businesses that are eligible can apply through the Department of Revenue, even if they are behind on taxes, and only minimal documentation is needed.

“You have to have a 25 percent reduction in sales, and you can’t make… you have to make 10 million or less,” Merriweather said.

Some of the funds could even be deposited in as little as two weeks.

“And if they tell you no, keep trying,” Merriweather said.

The deadline to apply for the relief fund is September 25.

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