Small Business Pandemic Financial Relief

Small Business Pandemic Financial Relief

Two small business COVID relief programs are opening for application starting later this week. The Short-Term Forgivable Loan Program (FLP), administered by VEDA, and the Creative Futures Grant Program administered by the Vermont Arts Council will start accepting applications from targeted businesses starting on September 15, 2022. Both programs are meant to assist small businesses with recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants will need to provide evidence that they are still suffering losses.

VEDA’s Short-Term Forgivable Loan Program:

This program provides financial assistance to businesses that continue to experience current and on-going economic harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria and demonstrate and attest to economic harm caused or exacerbated by the epidemic and show that such economic harm is ongoing. Successful applicants can use loan proceeds to pay for eligible operating expenses, but not capital expenditures. Within 12 months of loan disbursement, borrowers can apply for loan forgiveness by submitting documentation that the loan was used to pay for eligible operating expenses during the 12 months following loan disbursement.

All potentially eligible businesses should do the following now to get a head start in determining your eligibility and estimated loan amount:

On Friday, September 15, the FLP application portal will open, but only businesses in the following priority sectors and groups may submit applications during the first 30 days:

  • Travel & Tourism
  • Restaurants and Eating Establishments
  • Lodging
  • Childcare
  • Agriculture
  • BIPOC owned businesses in all industry sectors

If your business is not in one of these priority sectors or is not BIPOC-owned, take the preparation steps listed above, but do not apply on September 15. After the initial 30 days of this program, VEDA will reassess the need to continue limiting applications to these priority sectors. The determination on when to open the program to non-priority sectors will be based on continued demand from the priority sectors and available funding. ACEDC will send out a notification if the portal opens to all small business on an earlier date.

If you have questions or require assistance with this program, contact:
Fred Kenney, Executive Director, ACEDC

Creative Futures Grant Program:

The Creative Futures Grant program, administered by the Vermont Arts Council, opens on September 15, 2022, and applications for the first round must be submitted by November 1, 2022. This program is open to creative economy businesses (including sole proprietors) and cultural nonprofits that have sustained substantial losses due to the pandemic. Grant amounts will be based on 2019 (pre-pandemic) operating revenue. Grant funds may be used to cover a wide range of monthly operating expenses.

The second round of grant applications will open January 3, 2023 and close February 28, 2023, and the third round will open May 1 and close June 30, 2023.

To apply for a Creative Futures Grant, applicants must create an account here: All applicants (including Sole Proprietors) should register as an “organization applicant.”

The VAC will hold grantseeker workshops on:

  • September 19, 2022: 10:00 – 11:00 am.: Register
  • October 7, 2022: 1:00-2:00 pm.: Register

Grant contact:
Amy Cunningham, Vt Arts Council