▶️ Flood of requests for COIC grants shows small biz financial desperation

By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Bend resident Shannon McGivney started Adventure Guru just two years ago.

The online platform offers reviews and videos of trails, adventures and destinations around the world.

Like so many other small businesses, Adventure Guru’s income was hit hard by the pandemic.

“We’re a startup so we keep everything really tight and lean,” McGivney said.

So in August, McGivney applied for and received a small business relief grant from the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.

“Our main method of making money has gotten shut down with the closures, so I applied for that COIC grant, and it’s been hugely helpful,” McGivney said.

COIC has awarded more than $520,000 in grants since July. Last week, they opened up applications for a new round of funding.

But COIC had to close the grant applications portal on Monday after receiving more than 380 applications in just four days.

“By end of day on Monday it was up to $2.4 million (in requests) and I was pretty stunned,” Scott Aycock, community and economic development manager for COIC, said.

Aycock said the applications flooded in much faster this past weekend than they did in previous grant rounds.

“They’re desperate, concerned and confused as well,” Aycock said. “There’s just a tsunami of need.”

Aycock said more businesses applied because of expanded eligibility requirements. Previously, small businesses weren’t eligible for the grants if they’d received CARES Act funding, but in this round, those businesses were eligible.

The requests total more than $2 million. Aycock said they only have about $1.4 million to give away.

One of the grant applications that made it in on time was submitted by McGivney.

“I know that everyone is going to be applying because we’re all trying to make it through this time,” McGivney said.

COIC may open the application portal again to the public in the near future if more funding can be secured, according to Aycock.

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