The City of Statesboro and Georgia Southern’s Business Innovation Group are pleased to announce the awarding of $28,000 in “Love Ur City” COVID-19 relief funds to 14 local businesses in Statesboro and Bulloch County. Recipients were selected by the Business Innovation Group through a multi-step application process that included an online application and documentation demonstrating the impact of COVID-19 on their business. The award funds were provided by the “Love Ur City” fundraising campaign which the City of Statesboro sponsored in May to provide relief to businesses and families in Statesboro and Bulloch County that had been financially impacted by the pandemic.
“We received applications from several great Statesboro businesses and wish we could have helped them all,” said Dr. Dominique Halaby, Director of Georgia Southern’s Business Innovation Group. “That said, we are very grateful to those that contributed to this effort and honored to help allocate the available support to local small businesses impacted by the pandemic.”
The Business Innovation Group received a total of 22 applications and ultimately selected 14 eligible businesses. The award amount varied based on need with six businesses receiving a $1,500 award, two businesses receiving $2,000, and six businesses receiving $2,500. The businesses spanned across multiple industries from wellness to manufacturing. The average annual revenue for the recipient businesses was $76,832 with an average number of 3.5 employees.
“We used a holistic approach to determine the final number of recipients and their eventual amount of funding,” said Dr. Halaby. “Some of the factors considered included demonstrable revenue loss, the number of jobs impacted, stated use of funds related to combating the pandemic, industry type, etc. All applicants were ranked on the reviewed factors and placed in buckets with recommended funding levels.”
The Love Ur City campaign raised over $42,000 during May to benefit two funds: the Statesboro COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund and the Statesboro COVID-19 Family Relief Fund. The small business fund was managed and administered by Georgia Southern’s Business Innovation Group while the family fund applications and grants were managed by local nonprofit United Way of Southeast Georgia.
“I never questioned if our community would come together to support our neighbors in need,” said Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar. “To raise $42,000 in just two weeks speaks volumes to how far our community is willing to go to help each other. I would especially like to thank the Business Innovation Group and United Way of Southeast Georgia for stepping up to help our families and businesses that have been most affected by COVID-19. This project would not have been possible without the help and experience of our gracious partners.”
Applications for family relief funding are still available to the community at unitedwaysega.org/covid-19-relief-fund. To be eligible to receive family relief funds, applicants must reside in Bulloch County and be able to provide evidence that they are unable to pay all or part of their monthly rent or utility bills due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19. Applicants will be required to submit an initial online application and then provide additional documentation which is outlined on the website. Place all documentation in an envelope and put in the drop box at the Outreach Center located at 515 Denmark Street, Statesboro, GA 30458. The dropbox will have a United Way sign on it. Documentation should be dropped off within 48 hours of submitting the online application. Once documents are received, a case manager will review the application and contact the applicant with questions. This information will be used to verify the applicant’s needs. Questions can be directed to UnitedWaySEGA@gmail.com.