Washington County, Maryland’s solicitation for grant applicants caught my eye, but it turns out the whole state is eligible for Maryland’s Online Sales and Telework Opportunities Grant Program. It is one of six programs funded by the Relief Act that targets specific kinds of business that were negatively impacted by COVID-19 in a way that will require a significant rethinking of the business model, at least in the short term. An earlier round of applications exhausted available funding, and in October another tranche was made available to each county, to be awarded on a first come first serve basis. These grants were for existing small businesses, and they are not large – $7,500 max – but are intended to enable them to equip their business to allow employees to telework and/or to establish or enhance an online sales platform for goods or services.
It’s good for small business, whether in rural, suburban, or urban areas. Beyond that, I see all kinds of benefits to the community at large – small business bringing in more on-line sales dollars from outside the local area, more local residents with online sales and telework skills to name just a couple. It continues to build the case that there is both residential and commercial demand for enhanced broadband services in places where it may be lacking, and tells potential new employers with the need for teleworkers that they wouldn’t be starting from scratch.
Here are the particularly on the program and the others Maryland is offering: https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-small-business-covid-19-emergency-relief-fund-programs
And, since grants are no good if they don’t make it to the right people, here is the example of the promo Washington County put together (a LinkedIn version is what first caught my eye): https://www.washco-md.net/news/online-sales-telework-opportunities-grant-program-closes-at-2-p-m-today/