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New Grant Program Announced for Cook County Businesses

Jan 08, 2021 07:33AM ● By Editor
By Jim Boyd, Executive Director of The Cook County Chamber of Commerce - January 8, 2021

County Business Relief Grants of up to $7,500 will be available in coming weeks to Cook County businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cook County-Grand Marais Economic Development Authority has announced.

Applications for the grants will be accepted from Friday, Jan. 8 until noon, Friday, Jan. 22. The application, instructions and guidance for this grant program can be found under the “Programs and Projects” tab on the EDA website, The direct link is

In legislation passed during a Dec. 15 special session, the Minnesota Legislature enacted a program of county business relief grants, for which Cook County was awarded $256,250.

The Cook County grants will be disbursed by the EDA. Decisions on which businesses receive the grants will be made by Mary Somnis, EDA executive director; James Joerke, Cook County administrator; Pat Campanaro of the Northland Small Business Development Center and Jim Boyd, executive director of the Cook County Chamber.

County Administrator Joerke said the granting emphasis in Cook County will be on providing relief to small businesses that have received less previous state and federal aid while also losing more of their anticipated 2020 income.

Guidelines from the Department of Employment and Economic Development on making these grants include the following:

1. Applying businesses be located in the applicable county in the state of Minnesota or on adjacent tribal land.

2. Applying businesses must have no current tax liens on file with the secretary of state as of the time of application for a grant under this section.

3. Applying businesses must have been impacted by an executive order related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

4. A county must determine grant recipients and the grant amount awarded per grant.

5. Each county may use the greater of $6,250 or 2.5% of the amount received under this program for administration costs incurred from making grants under this program. A county may contract with a third party to administer the grant program on behalf of the county.

6. Grant funds must be used by the eligible business or nonprofit for operation expenses incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. Acceptable uses include but are not limited to: Property taxes , insurance costs, legal fees, payroll, rent, utilities, marketing/advertising, licensing fees, accounting fees, routine maintenance, travel/vehicle expenses, office supplies, repairs to the existing building and equipment.

7. A county may award a grant to a business that is owned by a tribal government and located on tribal land if the business has voluntarily complied with Executive Orders No. 20-99.

8. Nonprofits, nonprofit arts organizations, nonprofit museums and nonprofit fitness centers that earn revenue similar to businesses, including but not limited to ticket sales and membership fees, are eligible for grants.

9. The county will periodically report expenditures from this funding source required by the State.

10. Grants under this program must be awarded by March 15, 2021.

“We hope these grants will help a significant number of Cook County businesses survive the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the grant committee said. “Our businesses and the jobs they provide are critically important to our Cook County community.”

Jim Boyd
Executive Director
Cook County Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 805 
Grand Marais, MN 55604
218-370-9665 (office/cell)
218-387-2466 (home)
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