July 27, 2020 – Gov. Ralph Northam came to Hampton today to announce a $70 million state program that is targeted to help small businesses, especially those that are minority- or women-owned.
The setting was a green space along Mellen Street in Phoebus, a community Mayor Donnie Tuck called “one of the most in-demand areas of Hampton,” but also an area that has seen a resurgence after the Army decommissioned Fort Monroe in 2007, which was followed by a recession.
That resurgence, Tuck noted, was due to business owners who possessed “faith, perseverance and a vision." Northam echoed that message. He said “we often talk about hope” and noted that the program is called Rebuild VA because "ensuring our businesses survive" is central to rebuilding our communities. "When our small businesses do well,” he said, “Virginia does well.”
Speaking on behalf of the Partnership for a New Phoebus, Executive Director Toni Williams welcomed the governor to “fabulous Phoebus” and expressed confidence that businesses there “are resilient and confident that greater days are still ahead.”
The Rebuild VA Grant Fund will help small businesses and non-profits whose normal operations were most disrupted by COVID-19, including restaurants, brick and mortar retail, exercise and fitness facilities, personal care and personal grooming services, entertainment and public amusement establishments, and campgrounds. Many small businesses (fewer than 25 employees with gross revenue of less than $1.5 million in the last fiscal year) were not able to get help from the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
According to Tracey Wiley, director for the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, awards will be made “with an equity lens for the underserved and unbanked.”
Businesses and non-profits that are approved for a Rebuild VA grant may receive up to 3 times their average monthly eligible expenses up to a maximum of $10,000.
More information is available at https://www.governor.virginia.gov/rebuildva/. Details on what documents and information required are posted now to give businesses time to be ready to apply when applications become available Aug. 10.
After his announcement in Phoebus, the governor headed to Fort Monroe to ceremonially sign legislation to ban offshore drilling and establish protections for Virginia’s coastal and bay waters.