According to City of Tuscaloosa District 7 Councilwoman Sonya McKinstry, the Tuscaloosa City Council has approved the use of $1,000,000 to assist small businesses which were affected by COVID-19.

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama has an extensive list of programs designed to help create and maintain businesses in our area long before the global pandemic hit. Since the outbreak, civic and West Alabama business leaders have been very proactive in formulating plans to maintain our economy amid the varying regulations and changes in operations.

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama developed the Small Business Relief Fund with the Community Foundation of West Alabama to assist small businesses that have experienced financial hardship as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic.

The City of Tuscaloosa is said to have contribute an additional $1,000,000 toward the fund, which is being divided among the city's seven districts.

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To qualify for the funds, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have experienced a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19
  • Must have employed between 2 - 50 (FTE) employees as of February 29, 2020
  • Must be in good standing with state and local government jurisdictions
  • Must be located in one of the following counties in West Alabama: Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter, or Tuscaloosa

It was previously noted that many who were eligible for the funds weren't applying for it. However, as the COVID-19 outbreak continues, more businesses are affected.

In addition, to the Small Business Relief Fund, the West Alabama Regional Commission offers a Revolving Loan Fund to help small local businesses and industries in their start-up and expansion activities. The goal of the program is to create new jobs for West Alabama residents by providing gap financing that is not available from commercial lenders.

For more information on all of these programs, visit the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama's website or contact your district representative.

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