Edinburgh, Franklin get $440,000 to help small businesses

Nearly $500,000 in aid for small businesses in Edinburgh and Franklin is on its way.

The two Johnson County communities were among 49 additional communities to receive federal funding through the Indiana Office of Rural and Community Affairs’ (OCRA) COVID-19 Response Program.

OCRA awarded the town of Edinburgh $240,000 to create a small business grant program. Edinburgh small businesses will receive assistance retaining low-to-moderate income (LMI) jobs and working capital. The town is partnering with the Johnson County Development Corporation to assist with reviewing applications and fielding questions, town manager JT Doane said.

The City of Franklin was awarded $200,000 from OCRA and will use $50,000 in additional funds from the Franklin Development Corporation to distribute small business grants, mayor Steve Barnett said. The Franklin grant program is aimed to help business owners with a more broad range of expenses not covered by a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, such as rent and everyday expenses, he said.

Leaders in both communities are still working through the details of the grant, as they found out on Thursday when Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch made the announcement during the governor’s daily news conference, they said.

Interested businesses in Edinburgh may call the town office at 812-526-3512 or the John R. Drybread Community Center at 812-536-3539 for more details on the application process.

“I encourage any (business owners who) are out there to apply to see if you are eligible for this grant,” Doane said. “If this grant funding can’t help you, we can see what other resources are available.”

More details about the application process for Franklin businesses will likely be released next week, Barnett said. For Franklin, the grant is a chance to give businesses a boost to ride out these challenging times, he said.

“We are glad to be able to help,” Barnett said. “People are learning how to adapt … The restaurants are holding their own. The small shops have learned how to sell stuff online.”

The new grants total $8.8 million and was distributed to a wide variety of COVID-19 response efforts around the state. These are in addition to 13 initial grants that were awarded last week, including a $100,000 grant to help the Town of Bargersville set up a food distribution service for its residents.

“Indiana has awarded more than $10.7 million to our rural communities,” Crouch said. “From increasing access to necessary testing and medical supplies, to providing businesses and their workers with much-needed relief, these funds are directly assisting in the fight against COVID-19.”