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Gloria details proposal for $10M in small business aid

Many small businesses, especially those owned by people of color, would be eligible for $10 million in grants, loans and incentives that San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria has included in his proposed budget for the new fiscal year.

Gloria said Tuesday that the aid will help rev up San Diego’s economy as the city emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Small, local businesses can face what feel like daunting challenges in normal times, and many struggled immensely over the past year to keep their doors open and employees paid,” Gloria said during a news conference in Kearny Mesa.

“My proposed budget includes support that will provide a needed safety net for San Diegans who create jobs and contribute to our local economy. These investments strengthen hard-hit industries and set the stage for our more equitable recovery.”

The budget, which the City Council will begin debating this week before final approval in June, includes $10 million in grants and loans for nonprofits and small businesses in hard-hit industries and that are owned by people of color.

Businesses and nonprofits must prove they have been impacted by COVID-19 to apply, but city officials said in April that they are working through the specific eligibility and logistics of the grants, which will be handled by the San Diego Foundation.

The budget also includes creation of a “concierge team” to help small businesses access city aid and help from other government agencies.

There also is $750,000 to expand the city’s small business enhancement program, which gives local nonprofits money to help launch, expand, attract or retain businesses in the city. The goal is making San Diego a leading innovation hub and tourist destination.

Another $900,000 — $100,000 per council district — will be given to each councilmember for discretionary grants they can award to nonprofits and small businesses in each of their districts.

Gloria is also proposing $1 million for Connect2Careers, a workforce development program that aims to bolster youth employment.

The mayor said his goal is helping small businesses keep or rehire employees as more people get vaccinated and restrictions are lifted.

The funding is possible because of $306 million in federal pandemic aid San Diego will receive as part of the American Rescue Plan.

“San Diego is building back better after this pandemic,” Congressman Scott Peters said Tuesday. “Mayor Gloria’s budget proposal puts funding from the American Rescue Plan to good use by providing San Diego small businesses with timely assistance to weather this storm.”



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