Monroe County launches ‘Fast Forward Monroe 2.0’ relief program for businesses

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — News10NBC has some good news for Monroe County small business owners. An additional $20 million in grant money is now available to help get them through the pandemic.

Wednesday County Executive Adam Bello launched "Fast Forward Monroe 2.0", which follows last year’s grant program.

News10NBC found out who qualifies for the program and talked to one business owner who took full advantage of the program.

Bello said the county needs to do what it can to help all small business owners because they’re the backbone of our local economy. Eligible businesses can receive between $10,000 and $20,000 in grant money.

"These grants are vital to further supporting our local business, who are still suffering as a result of the shutdown, and restrictions that were created by the COVID-19 pandemic," Bello said.

He said the money can be used for rent, payroll, COVID-related business expenses, or other funding shortfalls. This program was first launched last October, and more than 1,500 small businesses received grants, but many more were left out. This time around the application process will be a lot easier.

"Our partners will work with these businesses on their applications, and paperwork for their grants so that they don’t miss out on this important opportunity," Bello said.

Rosa Marie owns and operates Marvelous Mind Academy, a child care service here in Rochester. Her business was hit hard by the pandemic.

"If we had to shut down, it would’ve been a numerous amount of families without care during that time, and that would’ve been devastating," Marie said.

During the first round of the program, she applied and was given $15,000.

"The Fast Forward grant allowed us to keep our lights on. It allowed us to pay our rent so that we could stay here, and of course pay our personnel," Marie said.

Bello says Fast Forward 2.0 is available to all small business owners, even if they applied for, and already received some grant money.

Marie said she’s applying again.

"It’s a service I do from the heart because I’ve been in the situation where a lot of these parents will come to us right now," Marie said. "Money is a necessary commodity. We have to have it in order to keep running."

Small businesses that qualify for this grant include Limited Liability Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, Sole Proprietorships, C-Corporations, and S-Corporations. They must also be a for-profit business, and formally established in Monroe County since at least March 1, 2020.

If you own a small business in the county click on this link to apply for your share of the grant money.