By Office of Governor Doug Ducey | Rose Law Group Reporter
PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced $3,575,000 to support programs that help Arizonans and small businesses recover financially from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This past year has brought extraordinary challenges on Arizonans and businesses across the state, and we are committed to helping them get back on their feet,” said Governor Ducey. “We’re making targeted investments that will go a long way in helping our small businesses create opportunities and foster growth in our state, and they will help Arizonans get better financial footing after the devastating effects of the pandemic. There is still no better place to live, work and start a business than right here in Arizona.”
The investments come from federal funding as well as the state’s Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund, a bipartisan FY 2021 budget agreement signed by the Governor that added $50 million for Arizona’s COVID-19 response.
Arizona Small Business Association
Governor Ducey invested $925,000 to establish the Arizona Small Business Association’s (ASBA) Growing Opportunities Grant. The grant will complement the Arizona Healthy Forest Alliance by providing training, mentorship, resources and support to help program participants launch their own business.
The Arizona Healthy Forest Alliance is a joint program between the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry that utilizes inmate work crews to conduct hazardous vegetation removal and clear Arizona’s forest floor of debris. The initiative aims to reduce recidivism by giving state inmates the opportunity to learn job skills for employment upon release.
Governor Ducey also invested $650,000 to establish the Small Business Relocation Grant Program led by ASBA. The grants will support additional small business growth, defray costs associated with a move, and provide dollars that a small business can use to establish a footprint in the state.
Governor Ducey invested $1.5 million to establish the EmergeAZ Fast II grant program, developed in partnership by InvisionAZ and StartupAZ. The program will help provide financial and business mentoring support to businesses as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grant recipients will have access to mentors and peers with experience building businesses. These individuals will work with the grant recipient on a quarterly basis for a year and monitor their progress. Grants will range from $25,000 to $50,000 based on viability, talent, previous venture capital funding and progression.
In January, Governor Ducey invested $1 million to help InvisionAZ and StartupAZ launch the EmergeAZ Fast Grant, a grant program dedicated to Arizona’s startups as they navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic. 33 Arizona startups received funding through the EmergeAZ Fast I program.
Money Management International
Governor Ducey invested $500,000 to assist Money Management International (MMI) in their efforts to help Arizonans repay debt, balance their budgets and recover from disasters.
MMI will help low-income, disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable households in low-income communities map out individualized plans to financial recovery and literacy. This will include in-person and virtual training sessions and one-on-one coaching on topics such as debt management, foreclosure prevention, student loan repayment counseling and more.
46 percent of lower-income adults in the U.S. have struggled to pay their bills since the start of the pandemic, and 32 percent have struggled to pay their rent or mortgage, according to a 2020 Pew Research study. This grant program will help Arizonans manage their finances as they recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, Governor Ducey announced an additional investment of $5 million in the Small Business Rehiring and Retention Program, which is designed to help Arizona small businesses recover from the economic consequences of the pandemic and extreme weather conditions. The Governor launched the program in August and has invested a total of $10 million in the program.
This month, legislation allowing bars, restaurants and liquor stores to sell mixed cocktails to-go went into effect. This law follows an Executive Order issued by Governor Ducey in March 2020 which temporarily allowed certain businesses to sell to-go cocktails during the pandemic.
By September, Arizona had recovered over 100 percent of private sector jobs lost during the pandemic, representing one of the fastest jobs recoveries in the nation.
In July, Governor Ducey signed legislation to reduce and streamline taxes for Arizona small businesses and protect them from a 77 percent tax increase.
In May, Governor Ducey announced the “Arizona Back To Work” program to support Arizonans getting back to work and filling jobs available across the state. The plan offered a $2,000 Back To Work bonus for eligible workers.
In July 2020, Governor Ducey announced $600,000 to fund the launch of the Arizona Small Business Association’s Live Local Program, which trains small businesses to find and navigate resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic, helps them build relationships within their communities, provides mentoring and internship programs, and more.