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Small Business Relief Program

Small Business Relief Program

To support businesses impacted by COVID-19

Self-employed entrepreneurs can apply for grants of up to $3,000 starting Tuesday, May 19 at noon

Hennepin County’s small businesses and self-employed workers are feeling some of the deepest impacts of COVID-19.

Self-employed entrepreneurs and business owners with no additional employees will be able to apply for grants of $1,500 up to $3,000 starting Tuesday, May 19 at noon.

This funding is part of the Small Business Relief Program, which is designed to help small local businesses meet immediate financial needs by providing emergency grants for eligible expenses of business interruption due to COVID-19.

The application period is May 19-29 at noon for self-employed entrepreneurs to apply for grants of up to $3,000. Up to $1 million total is available. If applications exceed available resources, funds will be awarded using a randomized lottery system as well as eligibility criteria. Fund recipients will be notified by email on or before June 5.






A separate application period for small businesses with employees to apply for grants of up to $10,000 from this program closed on May 8 and 2,290 applications were received. Fund recipients will be notified by email on or before May 15.

There are a number of small business technical assistance providers that can answer questions and assist you in filling out this application: Small business resource navigators (PDF)

How to reopen businesses safely

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Safely Returning to Work site is the best source for guidance about how specific business types can safely be open to customers, requirements for reopening and guidance on safe operations.

To reopen safely, businesses must have a Preparedness Plan in place. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry provides Preparedness Plan guidance for many different types of businesses. 

MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) works with employers and employees to solve safety and health problems before they occur. It offers free on-site consultation services, upon request, to help employers improve their safety and health record and lower accident costs. MNOSHA WSC consultants help employers recognize hazards, make recommendations for solving problems and suggest other sources of help that are available. The visit by a consultant is scheduled for a mutually agreeable time and can encompass the entire site, a piece of machinery or a specific work operation.

Stay Safe MN

The Stay Safe order allows customer facing retail to begin opening their doors to customers on May 18 provided those businesses do all the following:

Have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place

Follow physical distancing guidelines

  • Encourage the use of masks
  • Follow appropriate cleaning and disinfecting practices

Operate at less than 50% occupancy

  • Per CDC guidelines, employee health screening questions should be asked. Screening questions may be asked to employees verbally. If an employee answers yes to any of these questions, they should be sent home.
  • Retail businesses do not need to secure individual approval from the State or City in order to reopen.

The Governor has directed state agencies to develop guidelines for allowing hair salons and barbers, in person dining in restaurants and bars, and fitness centers to reopen in some form as early as June 1.

All businesses that have been allowed to reopen under previous Executive Orders, including Critical Sector businesses and non-Critical Sector industrial and office-based businesses, can continue operations.

Industrial or manufacturing businesses can also reopen co-located retail facilities as long as they also follow the restrictions outlined in Executive Order 20-56.
Critical Sector businesses that were never closed can continue to operate under the guidance in Executive Order 20-48.

Questions? contact: