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Mayor Keller Opens Applications for $10 Million in Small Business Support

Up to $10,000 per applicant available in economic relief funds through federal CARES Act

The City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department today announced new economic relief to local small businesses and locally owned franchisees through a $10 million Small Business Economic Relief Grant Program. In this next round of support from the City to businesses impacted by the current public health emergency, one-time grants up to $10,000 will be available to small businesses and locally owned franchisees within city limits.

“We are taking direct action to support the economic sustainability of Albuquerque small businesses and save jobs,” said Mayor Timothy Keller. “The pandemic has been hard on local business and workers, but we know we have the resilience to emerge on a strong trajectory for recovery and growth.”

The City Council approved appropriations for the grants through funding provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Myra Ghattas, is the Chair of the Small Business Regulatory Advisory Commission (SBRAC) and owner of Slate Street Cafe and Sixty-Six Acres restaurants, said, “The SBRAC is overwhelmingly in support of the effort by Mayor Keller to help small businesses in Albuquerque. As a business owner myself, I know firsthand the small business community has already been faced with unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19 and we need to do everything possible to support them. We commend Mayor Keller and the City Council for reacting quickly and making not only these new grants available to small businesses but also the previous dining and micro-business grants.” Slate Street Café was one of the 104 recipients of the City’s dining grants that helped restaurants expand outdoor seating.

Early in the pandemic, the City offered $750,000 in direct business support grants to 150 local businesses with the help of the One Albuquerque Fund, even before CARES Act funding was available. In addition, the City is in the process of spending more than $1 million dollars to purchase and distribute PPE. The Keller administration waived more than $1 million in fees on small businesses for 2020. By fast-tracking construction projects, the City has put $120 million into making sure local construction workers continue to earn a paycheck. More than 104 local restaurants received $364,500 in grants to expand outdoor seating, and the City invested nearly $100,000 into supporting local food businesses in Outdoor Food Truck Courts and Growers Markets.

Based on the City Council’s ordinance, to be eligible for the next round of support, a business must have no more than 50 full-time employees, including the owner (two part-time employees will be equivalent to one full-time employee); been operating at least one year; be able to show economic hardship due to the pandemic; and have a current and valid City of Albuquerque business registration license; among other requirements. Ineligible businesses include any whose patrons must be age 18 or older and corporate-owned chains. Businesses that previously received COVID-19 relief funds from other state, county, or municipal sources will be able to receive funding up to an aggregate amount of $10,000.

“We are making every effort to not only speed up Albuquerque’s economic recovery but also ensure the funds are going to small businesses who are often hit the hardest by business disruptions,” said Synthia Jaramillo, director of the Economic Development Department.

Upon successful completion of the application, grantees will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis unless the grants are oversubscribed. At that point, the City will employ a lottery system. 

Interested businesses may apply online beginning Oct. 26 at Paper applications will also be available for business owners who cannot access the online system. The application will be available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. All grants will be funded by Dec. 30.