ARPA Grants Help Massachusetts Small Businesses
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts made $75,000,000 available to support small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2022.
These funds were administered through two different grant programs, the New Applicant Grant Program and the Inclusive Grant Program.
When the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing shutdown hit, small business owners suffered setbacks they had never before experienced. Indeed, the scope of the pandemic and its effects were so massive and so unforeseen, they were impossible to anticipate or plan for.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 was the federal government’s economic stimulus bill, a plan to speed up the nation’s recovery from the economic and health effects resulting from the worldwide emergency.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts directed a portion of its federal ARPA funds to make $75 million in grants available to assist small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds were administered by MGCC through the creation of two new grant programs – the New Applicant Grant Program and the Inclusive Grant Program, which ran from February to April of 2022.
The New Applicant Grant Program, with a total of $25 million in available funds, was geared toward businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 that had not previously received financial relief from MGCC’s COVID-19 Relief Grant Programs.
The Inclusive Grant Program, with a total of $50 million in available funds, targeted businesses that were focused on reaching markets predominantly comprised of socially and economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented groups, underserved markets, and those owned by minorities, women, veterans, disabled individuals, or those that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
While eligibility requirements and the approved use of funds were strictly monitored for both grant programs, qualifying businesses owners could receive minimum grants of $10,000 up to a maximum of $75,000.
Through these programs, MGCC disbursed more than $67 million to nearly 1,500 Massachusetts small businesses -- $22,530,00 to 499 businesses through the New Applicant Grant Program and $45,050,00 to 970 businesses through the Inclusive Grant Program.
Mobsters & Lobsters of Holbrook was one of those grantees. Offering trolley tours through Boston’s historic underworld followed by a traditional New England lobster dinner at a local restaurant, Mobsters & Lobsters has been in business since 2016, with six employees. But the effects of the pandemic and shutdown left its future in jeopardy. Owners Victoria and Tom Collins received $30,000 in an Inclusive Grant to help them pay the business’ insurance, rent and other operating costs.
“(The business is) doing awesome now. It’s great.”
Which was the whole purpose of these grants.