BOZEMAN -- Starting Thursday, a new COVID-19 relief program is being rolled out to Montana-based businesses by the state government. And it aims to help those businesses hit the hardest.
“This kind of funding is vitally important because it comes in the form of a grant and it’s looking to help really broad spectators of the economy both on the social service side, but also on the business side... particularly in the rural areas that really need the help." said Paul Reichert, the Executive Director of Prospera Business Network, who is helping spread the word to Montana businesses on the new relief package.
Reichert says this is one of the farthest reaching grant packages he’s seen the state offer. It has nine programs businesses can apply for easily online and will give out a total of $118,550,000 across Montana.
“The fact that the state could prop this up as quickly as it did and the application process I looked at today is very, very streamlined, very simple is really commendable to the folk at The State of Montana and the Governor’s Office that really made this happen,” he said.
Some programs will prioritize businesses who have not received other loans and grants like the Paycheck Protection Program, like the Business Stabilization Program. Online applications will be reviewed quickly and a decision can come as fast as 5-7 business days. And Reichert said speed is key.
“It has to be fast," Reichert said. "If we have a program that gets money out the door in August, it’s not going to work. So I think speed was one of the critical elements.”
And he believes these grants are a good first step in recovery.
“This program and this response is the initial response from Montana and the Governor’s office. My peers and my organization were talking about recovery long term," Reichert said. "Not only stabilizing businesses as they reopen but thinking about the recovery long-term.
Applications are now open and will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are expended or until December 1st. To begin an application, visit the Montana Department of Commerce's website.