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Cook County Businesses Receive State COVID-19 Relief Funding

Feb 19, 2021 09:36AM ● By Editor

County Administrator James Joerke. Photo: Cook County MN

Cook County From Cook County MN - February 19, 2021

Forty-two Cook County businesses are receiving business assistance grants of up to $7,500 as part of a COVID-19 economic relief bill passed by the Minnesota Legislature in December.

The relief bill included $114.8 million in payments to counties for distribution to businesses that had to close or curtail operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cook County received a minimum allocation of $256,250, which included $250,000 for small business grants and up to $6,250 for grant program administration costs. 

Cook County Government partnered with the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA), the Cook County Chamber of Commerce and the Northland Small Business Development Center (NSBDC) to solicit and evaluate proposals for funding. Per guidance from the state, applicants who had not received COVID-19 relief through previous state and federal funding programs received greater consideration than those who had. The extent of business revenue losses in 2020 compared to 2019 was also a factor in the scoring process. 

The County and its partners received 100 applications. A total of 42 businesses received grants. Ten businesses received 100 percent of the funds they requested, 14 businesses received 90 percent of the amount requested, and the remaining 18 proposals were funded at 70 percent. The evaluation committee used a tiered system to maximize the number of proposals awarded and chose to reallocate $3,800 of the funds budgeted for administrative expenses to increase the pool of grant funding.

County Administrator James Joerke thanked the EDA, Cook County Chamber and NSBDC for their assistance in administering the grant program. “Our goal was to get the grant funds to businesses with the greatest needs as quickly as possible, and we couldn’t have accomplished that without the help of the EDA, Chamber and NSBDC.” He added, “We know these grants will not fully compensate local businesses for their losses, but we hope it will help keep them on their feet until the pandemic loosens its grip.”

A full list of state business relief grant recipients is on the Cook County website at


James Joerke
[email protected]

A list of the grant recipients and amounts awarded is available in the attached PDF.
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