Local News

Wake County wants to give $5 million to small businesses

Posted May 4, 2020 11:53 a.m. EDT
Updated May 4, 2020 6:43 p.m. EDT

— Wake County Commissioners met Monday to discuss a plan to funnel $5 million from the federal government to small businesses.

Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria said the county has the potential to receive $194 million dollars from the federal government, and he's proposing some of that money go to small business owners.

"Our business went from being healthy and strong to having no revenue," said Cheetie Kumar, owner of Garland, a restaurant in downtown Raleigh. "It's an expensive business. It's a very slim profit margin. On your best year, you might clear seven percent, and you'd be celebrating."

As part of Wake County's proposed "Small Business Relief Program," $4 million will be set aside for small businesses and $1 million will be set aside for independent contractors like barbers and hairstylists.

"We know that maybe if you're a barber, you don't own the barber shop," Calabria said. "But you still rent a chair. You're still hurting, and we want to make sure we provide for you too."

The number sounds small in comparison to the $194 million Wake County could receive, but Calabria said there are restrictions on how the money is spent. The county must consider other top priorities, including housing and food security.

Wake County has until the end of the year to spend the federal dollars. Although small details are still being worked out, small businesses should be able to apply for loans and grants through the Small Business Relief Program within the next few weeks.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners meets at 5 p.m. to discuss the plan.

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