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Louisiana Main Street Recovery Grant program received 26,000 applications for assistance since its inception 35 days ago, according to Treasurer John Schroder.

Schroder told local business owners there was still time a fill out an application in a planned stop at Jack Hammons Community Center Sept. 17. The stop was part of a statewide tour of towns promoting the program.

Small businesses can apply for up to $15,000 to help with recovery from COVID-19 economic impacts. Schroder said $110 million had been allocated but $43 million has yet to be awarded.

“My goal and the legislator’s goal is to put the money in the streets and put it in your hands,” Schroder said.

Sen. Glen Womack and Rep. Neil Riser were also in attendance.

“This program is beneficial to all Franklin Parish businesses, not just those located in downtown Winnsboro,” said Lisa Kiper, president of Winnsboro-Franklin Chamber of Commerce. The chamber sponsored the event.

Businesses who may qualify for a Louisiana Main Street Recovery Grant are hair salons, barber shops, restaurants, lawyer offices, lawn service owners, day cares, auto body shops, nail salons, flower shops and boutiques.

“These are not all of the businesses that may be eligible,” Kiper said. “Every application is very important. The money is on a first come, first served basis.”

To be eligible for the grant, a business must be domiciled in Louisiana as of March 1, 2020, suffered an interruption of business, at least 50 percent owned by one or more Louisiana residents and filed Louisiana taxes in 2018 or 2019 or will file taxes in 2020.

Other requirements include no more than 50 full-time employees as of March 1, have customers or employees visit a physical location, are not part of a bigger business with more than 50 full-time employees and

does not exist for the purpose of advancing partisan political activity and does not directly lobby federal or state officials.

The business should not derive income from passive investments without active participation in business operations.

The program has seen success in minorities and woman-owned companies with $40 million set aside for those businesses, Schroder said.

“It has been fantastic,” Schroder said. “Almost $32 million of the $40 million has been awarded to minority businesses.”

Schroder said the Louisiana Main Street Recovery Grant gives small business owners “equal footing.”

“Every business in this town, as long as you are doing what you are supposed to do, is eligible,” Schroder said. “You have the same opportunities the people in New Orleans has, the people in Baton Rouge or Shreveport. This is one of the few programs everybody is on equal footing.”

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