To help keep Utah businesses afloat, the Utah Legislature allocated $25 million in federal CARES Act funds for a new COVID-19 Impacted Businesses Grant Program. The initiative, managed by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), is known as ‘Shop In Utah’ and begins accepting applications on July 27, 2020, at 9 a.m. (MDT).
Shop In Utah provides grants to businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies must offer a discount, coupon, or another offer with an estimated value to their customers of at least 50% of the grant amount to qualify for the program. Because the Legislature intended this grant to be primarily used to help Utah small businesses in various industries, at least 75% of grant funds will be distributed to Utah companies with 250 or fewer full-time employees.
“This grant will help businesses and save consumers money,” said Val Hale, GOED’s executive director. “We hope qualifying Utah businesses take advantage of this great opportunity to receive support from the federal CARES Act fund. We also encourage consumers to ‘Shop In Utah’ and support Utah businesses.”
To be eligible for Shop In Utah, businesses must:
- Offer a discount or other financial incentive with an estimated value to customers of at least 50% of the grant amount
- Have experienced a revenue decline related to COVID-19
- Have been in operation on March 1, 2020
- Have employees that are physically located in Utah
- Establish that the use of funds will benefit the state economy
- Not receive funding from the COVID-19 Cultural Assistance Grant program (‘Create In Utah’) administered by Utah Division of Arts & Museums in the Department of Heritage and Arts (this grant program is open until Aug. 7, 2020)
Shop In Utah grant amounts may not exceed the business entity’s coronavirus pandemic revenue decline, or $50,000.
A business owner could look at lost revenues and come up with an appropriate Shop In Utah customer discount. For example, if a qualifying Utah business lost $30,000 in revenue since the coronavirus pandemic began, it could create a discount or promotion worth a total of $15,000 in savings to its customers to claim a Shop In Utah grant worth $30,000.
Shop In Utah customer discounts can take many forms. By way of illustration, here are a few examples:
- A retailer offers a buy-one-get-one deal, giving customers a discount of up to $5,000 combined by month’s end; Shop In Utah grant amount is $10,000
- A manufacturer offers customers a 20% discount for two weeks, committing to $25,000 off retail pricing; Shop In Utah grant amount is $50,000
- A hotel offers 50% off bookings in August, up to $25,000 off retail pricing; Shop In Utah grant amount is $50,000
Additional examples are available here.
Completed applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The application process will remain open until all grant funds are appropriated. Shop In Utah grant checks will be distributed on a rolling basis beginning the first week of August.
Aug. 4, 2020 Update
The amount of Shop In Utah funds requested now exceeds the amount of federal CARES Act funds currently available for the initiative. However, we encourage interested companies to apply should additional program funding become available. We’ll know more about additional Shop In Utah program funding following the Utah Legislature’s special session later this month. All Shop In Utah applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis until funding runs out.