City Providing Small Businesses $1M in COVID-19 Relief


City of Des Moines COVID-19 RepsonseDES MOINES, IOWA – Monday, July 13, 2020 – The City of Des Moines will soon issue checks totaling over a million dollars to approximately 140 small businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Recognizing the serious impacts that the pandemic was having on the small businesses that add vibrancy to our community and local economy, Mayor Cownie and the Des Moines City Council allocated funds recently to help Des Moines businesses stay in business.

Economic Development Director Erin Olson-Douglas said this is the first round of payments through the Small Business Recovery Grant program that could eventually total nearly $1,300,000 for Des Moines business owners.

"During our review of the grant applications, it was humbling to see the serious struggles that many of our small businesses are experiencing," Olson-Douglas said. "We want to see our Des Moines businesses – their owners, their employees and our residents – emerge from these struggles and thrive."

Olson-Douglas said the relief grants range from $3,500 to $10,000 and that checks would be available in two weeks. Roughly half of the first-round grantees are businesses owned by women or minorities. In two rounds of funding that ended May 31, the City of Des Moines received approximately 240 applications requesting COVID-19 relief.  

"The good news is that more help is on the way. We are reaching out to applicants that did not provide full information in the initial application and will be working on a second round of grants to Des Moines small businesses. These applicants will be selected and notified later in July," Olson-Douglas added. "We expect that to be another $300,000 in payments."

Olson-Douglas said a portion of these grants will provide $87,500 to fund 25 businesses and programs through the Financial Empowerment Center in Des Moines.

"The City’s work to support small, diverse businesses in the midst of this pandemic is a practical example of how public entities can partner with the community productively and effectively," said Deidre DeJear, Program Manager with the Financial Empowerment Center.

The Small Business Recovery Grant program was a regional relief initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and included the cities of Des Moines, West Des Moines, Johnston, Indianola, Norwalk, Clive, Windsor Heights, Carlisle and Urbandale as well as Polk County, Warren County and a number of local corporations through private fund-raising by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.


Jen Schulte
Director of Government Relations & Communications 
(515) 318-9814

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