One Buncombe Fund offers aid for small businesses impacted by COVID-19

Press release from Buncombe County government: 

Another round of funding is now available for small businesses and their employees struggling from COVID-related issues. On Sept. 21, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved $500,000 for the popular One Buncombe Fund that has already helped 200+ small businesses and resulted in the retention or hiring of 1,000 local employees. “We’ve heard from our small business community that this funding is making a real difference during these difficult times,” noted Commission Chair Brownie Newman. “In fact, Local Business Impact Survey data shows us that nearly 60% of local small businesses have not recovered to pre-COVID revenue rates. With that in mind, I’m excited this successful and locally-focused initiative will have a third round of funding.”

Through two rounds of funding, One Buncombe Fund has significantly helped residents, employees, and small businesses:

Round one:

  • More than 1,000 individuals were helped by distributing more than $450,000 for housing assistance, utilities, and other necessities.
  • 92 small businesses got more than $852,000 to help retain 674 local jobs.
  • 57 of the 92 businesses getting loans have five or fewer employees.
  • 29% of loans were for minority-owned businesses and 65% of loans were for women-owned businesses.
  • For more information, click here.

    Round two:

  • Grants helped more than  100 small businesses retain more than 400 living-wage jobs.
  • 35% of grants are for sole-proprietor businesses.
  • 64% of grants are to women-owned enterprises.
  • 36% of grants are to businesses owned by people of color.
  • 20% of grants are to businesses owned by women of color, a demographic data shows has been the most impacted by COVID-19.
  • 80% of grants are for historically underutilized businesses which includes both women-owned and minority-owned enterprises.
  • For more information, click here.

In this round, qualifying Buncombe County-based small businesses will be eligible for up to $5,000 in grant money from the One Buncombe Fund with a focus on:

  • Women-owned businesses
  • People of color-owned businesses
  • Sole proprietorships
  • Music- and art-based businesses
  • Farm- and agricultural-based businesses

Here’s what small businesses need to know:

Applications will be accepted Oct. 1-31. For information about applying, click here. All applications received prior to the deadline will be considered equally.

  • Sole proprietorships are eligible for up to $2,500.
  • Small businesses with 2-25 full-time equivalent employees are eligible for up to $5,000.
  • Register for updates and learn more about the One Buncombe Fund here.
  • Selected grant recipients will receive disbursements at the end of November.

One Buncombe Fund is a small business job retainage grant program to assist those individuals who have suffered substantial financial damages due to the pandemic. Funding for this project was approved by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners at its Aug. 31 meeting with American Rescue Plan Local Fiscal Recovery Funding. Applications and distribution of money will be administered by Mountain BizWorks.

Please note, if you are an individual in need of COVID-related assistance, please call Buncombe County Health and Human Services at (828) 250-5500.

Special thanks to our partner Mountain BizWorks for its invaluable logistical and outreach contributions to this initiative.

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