For Immediate Release: April 15, 2020
Nicole Bentley, Executive Director
Heart of Brevard
Business Task Force Launches Transylvania Tomorrow: Small Business Emergency Relief Fund
Transylvania County, NC – The Transylvania Business Task Force launches Transylvania Tomorrow, an initiative to assist Transylvania County’s small businesses who have been negatively impacted by the recent public health crisis. A central element of the Transylvania Tomorrow initiative is the development of a Small Business Emergency Relief Fund. The fund is being launched based on direct feedback to task force members from stakeholders and provides a direct way in which less impacted businesses, corporate donors, private foundations, citizens and other philanthropic organizations can financially support the small business community that we all love, appreciate and want to see persevere while normal business operations are disrupted.
At launch, the fund has received $26,000 in contributions which includes task force commitments along with a $5,000 donation from Transylvania Tomorrow’s first corporate donor, Comporium, the community’s primary internet, phone and home security monitoring provider. The fund’s reach and overall impact will be directly tied to private sector contributions. The task force anticipates the financial needs to be great and is requesting help to increase funding availability so that as many businesses as possible can be involved. Any business or community member wishing to contribute to the fund are encouraged to visit the Transylvania Tomorrow webpage to access the online donation tool or contribution mail-in instructions.
Businesses who have been severely negatively impacted and have an interest in applying for funds through the Transylvania Tomorrow program are also encouraged to visit the webpage and complete the online application or print version. The maximum individual business award from the fund is currently set at $3,000. A selection committee will review requests and award grants until funds are exhausted. Awarded funds are designed to provide fast, emergency relief to businesses to assist with employee payroll, rent, utilities, insurance or other similar business costs associated with adapting and operating during the COVID-19 crisis. Business eligibility guidelines are as follows:
- Must have primary operations anywhere in Transylvania County
- Should employ less than 50 full-time workers
- Must be able to demonstrate a 25% or more decrease in revenue due to COVID-19
- Must be in good standing in regard to state and local taxes and business licenses
- Prefer businesses that are:
- Independently owned
- Have been in operation for 12 months or more
- Have a brick and mortar location somewhere in Transylvania County, NC
- Applicants must be willing to provide key pieces of information to help track the impact
Additional information on the fund including, deadlines, award criteria and other ways to support the Transylvania Tomorrow initiative can be found on the webpage and Facebook page. Interested business applicants are also encouraged to register for the upcoming business task force webinar scheduled for Thursday, April 16, 4:00-5:30 p.m. The Task Force will review applications in confidence. All donations will be received, processed and dispersed by the Community Focus Foundation a 501c3 organization serving Transylvania County.
From the COVID-19 Business Task Force:
The Business Task Force was formed in response to the coronavirus pandemic with the mission of working together across the community to support businesses as they work through and recover from this time of crisis. The Task Force consists of the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce, Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center, Heart of Brevard, Transylvania County Tourism and Transylvania Economic Alliance.
Clark Lovelace, Executive Director of the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce and Transylvania County Tourism, and member of the task force commented, “Transylvania County is a special place. Small, authentic mountain communities like ours are difficult to find. That’s part of what makes us such a desirable place to live and to visit. Our small businesses are at the heart of who we are and the driving force of our local economy. They represent people who love Transylvania County enough to stake their livelihood in our community. We owe it to these individuals to protect their investment in our community.”
“Right now, the vitality and future of our small business community is a critical concern,” added Nicole Bentley, Executive Director of the Heart of Brevard. “These businesses, who have served and supported residents and visitors for so long, are under significant threat from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it’s our turn to serve and support them. If we want a vibrant community tomorrow, we must act today.”
“We are in this emergency together and there will be a tomorrow, a time we can rebuild and recover. While we all feel the impacts of this public health crisis, the economic toll, so far, is heavily concentrated on small businesses in several important business sectors. This initiative will help our local businesses directly impacted to reach a day in which they can reopen to the public. This initiative provides a tangible way for those that have the capacity to invest to help small businesses beyond typical patronage and shop local initiatives,” commented Josh Hallingse, Executive Director of the Transylvania Economic Alliance.
“Throughout this crisis, we have seen federal, state, and local leadership step up to the challenge by providing resources and support to our county’s small businesses. This initiative is an extension of those efforts by providing a helping hand to Transylvania County businesses,” said Ben Smith, Director of the Small Business Center at Blue Ridge Community College.
From our founding corporate sponsor
According to Shelia Carland, Director & City Executive of Comporium’s Brevard Office, “Comporium recognizes that there are so many businesses in our community who are hurting at this time and we feel this fund is a great way to show our support and make a difference.”
Additional thanks to our in-kind sponsor Market Connections.