Small businesses starting to see $10,000 grants through Orange County CARES Act

County officials offer advice as more than 50% of applicants are denied

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – More than 1,700 small businesses in Orange County are getting their checks for $10,000 through Orange County’s Small Business Grant Program funded by federal CARES Act funding given to the county.

One of those businesses is Lake Avenue Nails in Maitland, owned by Dung Le, also known as Lee to his customers.

“Thank God I got a check for $10,000,” he said Wednesday. “Yesterday we went to the bank, we put the deposit and I told the bank teller, ‘Yes, I’m so excited.’”

The county began the program in June, allocating $72.9 million to give 6,500 businesses a $10,000 dollar grant. Originally, it was only available to businesses with less than 20 employees that didn’t receive any money on their own through the Payroll Protection Program. Because demand wasn’t as high, the county changed the criteria to allow business owners with less than 100 employees, and who have received $50,000 or less in PPP.

“Those were the folks we wanted to make sure got taken care of,” said Eric Ushkowitz, Orange County’s economic development administrator and program manager for the Small Business Grant Program.

However, the latest data shows of the 6,723 businesses that have applied, more than half are getting denied. According to Orange County, so far 3,150 have been denied. That is 55% of the applications getting denied.

“The documentation just isn’t in order, a lot of folks maybe don’t realize they need a municipal business tax receipt, so we are seeing an influx in that,” Ushkowitz said.

He also added home-based businesses are having some trouble with applying and that county staff are going back and working with businesses who have been denied to get whatever documents they may have missed.

"We've done a really good job with the teams we work with from denials to approval," Ushkowitz added. "We would love for folks to continue to apply."

If you are a business owner in Orange County with less than 100 employees and received less than $50,000 in PPP money then you can find the documents required and apply here.

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