Small Business Relief Grants Program accepting applications

Photo illustration /

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced that the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program, which was approved by the Minnesota Legislature and signed by Gov. Tim Walz, is accepting applications.

This program will provide $10,000 grants to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees are eligible. Half of the funding will go to businesses in Greater Minnesota and half to businesses in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, as required by law.

Additional requirements include:

  • $18 million for businesses with six or fewer full-time employees.
  • $10 million for minority business enterprises.
  • $2.5 million for veteran-owned businesses.
  • $2.5 million for women-owned businesses.
  • $2.5 million for operators of indoor retail and food markets with an ethnic cultural emphasis.

“Small businesses across our state urgently need this relief,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in a news release. “DEED applauds the bipartisan action to pass this legislation, and we are grateful to Gov. Walz for signing the bill quickly so we could immediately get this grant program up and running.”
The application period began Tuesday, June 23, and will close at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 2, to fulfill the 10-day period required by the law. A randomized, computer-generated lottery process will be used to select eligible businesses that will receive awards.

All awards will be administered by qualified local and regionally based nonprofit agencies, and the grant funds can be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills and other similar business expenses.


To be eligible, businesses must have a permanent physical location in Minnesota and be majority owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota. Businesses must be able to demonstrate hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Additional eligibility requirements and application information can be found online at DEED’s Small Business Relief Grants page.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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