Columbus small businesses are bouncing back from the pandemic and more financial help is available

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) — The pandemic has been a time of crisis for many, and small business owners in Columbus were not exempt.

The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce provided a development update Tuesday, explaining how Fountain City businesses are holding up in the wake of COVID … and what to expect for future projects.

“A statistic that Uptown Columbus recently provided is that during the pandemic they only lost five businesses,” said Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerald Mitchell. “It’s quite extraordinary.”

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan (ARP), countless mom and pop shops in Columbus have been able to stay afloat. Nearly $2.5 million has been allocated to the City of Columbus to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Mitchell explained that there is even more money for business owners to take advantage of: “If you are a business on or before March 1, 2019, you are still eligible to submit expenses related to operational modernization. , utilities and rent related to this COVID period.

The cap for small businesses: up to $40,000.

Also helping to keep small businesses afloat: several new developments, like Highside Market, looking for tenants.

A great help in this process: StartUP Columbus, a community incubator.

“For beginners who come here, our hope and desire would be that they start and grow their business here, but of course entrepreneurs will go where their business is needed and be successful wherever they go,” the director said. StartUP Columbus executive Ben MacMinn told News Leader 9.

Of course, things looked different for Start Up Columbus during COVID: virtual meetings and classes were crucial. Even during the pandemic, at least 30 new business owners are graduating from StartUP Columbus’ programs.

Mitchell said some of the objections that are turning business owners, especially large corporations, away from landing in the town of Fountain include proximity to Interstate 85 and the Port Authority of Georgia, as well as lack of large land on which to build.

Mitchell also explained that improving infrastructure and maintaining the special local sales tax on transportation, which features on the main ballot this month, are important to continue attracting business to the area.

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