2020 will go down in history as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic with its accompanying health and economic uncertainty. The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) team has been at the heart of the state’s COVID-19 response, contributing to the state’s unified command, task force, committees and subcommittees, and supporting policies that look after the health of Utahns and the strength of Utah’s economy.
Supporting 10 different programs, to-date, GOED has disbursed $163,563,817 of state and Legislature-allocated federal CARES Act funds.
GOED’s 2020 COVID-19 programs include:
- A Mask for Every Utahn
- Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan
- In Utah economic reactivation outreach and education, including Healthy In Utah’s support of appropriate pandemic response behaviors
- COVID-19 Commercial Rental Assistance Program (ComRent)
- COVID-19 Displaced Worker Grant Program (Learn & Work In Utah)
- COVID-19 Impacted Businesses Grant Program (Shop In Utah)
- COVID-19 PPE Support Grant Program (Safe In Utah)
- Tourism COVID-19 Recovery Program (Meet In Utah)
- Utah COVID-19 Oil, Gas and Mining Grant (OGM Grant)
- Utah Hospital Grants
Although all grant programs are currently closed — with final Shop In Utah grant distributions going out this week — over 5,600 COVID-19 grants were awarded to Utah businesses. For all programs, an average of nearly 30% of funds went to rural Utah businesses.
GOED administered these programs using its Salesforce platform. For example, GOED opened the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program application five days after receiving approval to proceed. Throughout the eight months of deploying CARES Act funding, GOED managed a 12,000% increase in grant applicant demand compared to 2019.
GOED’s COVID-19 programs helped support companies across the state, especially in Utah’s hardest-hit industries, including leisure and hospitality, food and beverage, and retail.
Since its launch in July, the statewide In Utah outreach and education campaign has achieved over 357 million impressions on all media types, including television, radio, social media, print, and outdoor advertising.
Particularly noteworthy is how quickly the GOED team moved to action. Utah’s first COVID-19 business restrictions occurred on March 20, 2020. On March 31, GOED opened the intermountain west’s first bridge loan program to support small businesses in the state. By the end of the following week, companies had much-needed checks in-hand.
GOED’s Small Business Bridge Loan amounts ranged from $5,000 to $20,000 and were offered 0% interest for up to 60 months. Loans were for businesses and nonprofits and could not exceed three months of demonstrated operating expenses. Loan payments are deferred for 12 months. The Bridge Loan activity occurred before Congress acted, and the state received federal CARES Act funding.
Beyond the figures and the statistics, GOED’s COVID-19 work ultimately supported Utahns, their businesses, and their families. That’s where any sense of pride or accomplishment, from frequent, repeated long hours, evenings, and weekends’ work is achieved: knowing we provided lifelines to so many in such unprecedented circumstances.
Here are a few acknowledgments of GOED’s pandemic work:
“Thank you to everyone responsible at GOED for their assistance and the administration of the funds your group has been tasked to disseminate. I want to let yourself and those in your team, including up to Gov. Herbert, know how much of an honor we consider bestowed upon our shoulders during this time of uncertainty.”
— Bryan Clifton, Redman Movies and Stories
“Thank you very much! These funds come at a time of great need and will go far to buoy my practice during this down period. Please pass along my gratitude to all in the governor’s office who are part of this excellent program!”
— Gary Tremayne, Clarity Vision
“We are very grateful for the offer of this bridge loan. This will give us a good boost to keep our business going through these difficult times. We appreciate your confidence in us.”
— Angela and Shaun Heaton, Bonneville Asphalt