Okeechobee County and Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation Team up to Provide Business Grants to Small Businesses in the County

At the Okeechobee County Commissioners meeting on Thursday, August 20, 2020 the Commissioners approved a new set of guidelines for the Okeechobee CARES Act Grant. After approving over 100 grants for distribution to small businesses, money was remaining in the fund. The Commissioners voted unanimously to update the guidelines so that additional applicants could apply.  The County has partnered with the Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation (OCEDC) to provide these RELIEF funds to businesses who have suffered due to the required closures resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The money can be used to cover expenses such as employee wages, bills, and rent. The emergency relief is targeted specifically to help local businesses cover immediate financial needs. Grants are strictly limited to businesses physically located within Okeechobee County. Funds can only be used to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures, provided those costs are not paid by insurance. Grant money cannot be used to pay taxes. Below is a list of requirements needed to meet eligibility requirements of the Grant:

Eligibility Criteria | Small Businesses are eligible for a one-time $7500

  • The business is locally or independently owned
  • The business occupies commercial space within Okeechobee County
  • Business was ordered to close under the Governor’s Executive Orders
  • Business has no more than 25, full-time equivalent (FTE) employees or subcontractors, including the business owner as of March 1, 2020
  • The business has been operating on or before March 1, 2020 and is still operating.
  • Firm is expected to return to full operations after all local and state emergency guidelines during COVID-19 are rescinded
  • Up to date on real estate taxes if the applicant owns the business property
  • Each applicant will be limited to a single application per company or partnership. (For example, if you own the company and you receive a 1099, you can only apply for either the Company or your 1099.

Eligibility Criteria | Independent Contractors/Sole Proprietorships $5000

  • Independent contractors/sole proprietorships in this category only are associated with individuals who work in a beauty salon, massage, or barber shop business only
  • The business they work in is locally or independently owned in Okeechobee County
  • The business they work in occupies commercial space within Okeechobee County
  • Business was ordered to close under the Governor’s Executive Orders
  • The business has been operating on or before March 1, 2020 and is still operating

Eligibility Criteria | Home-Based $5000

  • The business is locally or independently owned in Okeechobee County
  • Your home-based business was ordered to close under the Governor’s Executive Orders

Eligibility Criteria | Non-National Local Non-Profit Organizations (501C) $5000

  • The business is located in Okeechobee County
  • The business occupies space within Okeechobee County
  • Business was ordered to close under the Governor’s Executive Orders
  • The business has been operating on or before March 1, 2020 and is still operating

Eligibility Criteria | Okeechobee Waiters/Waitresses/Bartenders (Specified Workers) $2500

  • The business they work in occupies commercial space within Okeechobee County
  • Business was ordered to close under the Governor’s Executive Orders (see attached)
  • The business has been operating on or before March 1, 2020 and is still operating

The grants will be awarded on a first come first serve basis via fully completed applications that will be submitted online. The guidelines and application can be found on the Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporations (OCEDC) website ( www.ocedcorp.com ). We will be accepting application sometime Thursday, August 27th and will be awarding grants until the money is exhausted. For more information interested businesses should email or call the OCEDC office at 863-357-2334 or info@ocedcorp.com .

Okeechobee County received funding from the State of Florida through the

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal stimulus package.

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