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Economic Relief Grant 2020

What you should know about the upcoming grant for ND businesses

a grant that may apply to the purchase of bushel

 

Bushel is excited to bring news of a grant from the State of North Dakota that your company can benefit from. This grant, the Economic Resiliency Grant, is available to private companies  (and applicable to co-ops!) operating in North Dakota for costs associated with improvements to their businesses for the purpose of reducing the spread of infection, and instilling consumer confidence in the marketplace.

 

This grant may apply to the purchase of Bushel’s Platform, including the Bushel-powered app, Bushel-powered website, and Offer Management System. By applying for this grant and signing up for Bushel’s Platform with the funds, your company arms itself with the future-proofing the platform provides, along with keeping your employees and customers safe.

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Grant FAQs

This information was first published on the North Dakota Gov website

What is the Economic Resiliency Grant (ERG)?
    • The North Dakota Department of Commerce is proud to make the Economic Resiliency Grant available to private companies operating in North Dakota for costs associated with improvements to their businesses for the purpose of reducing the spread of infection, and instilling consumer confidence in the marketplace. 
    • While eligibility for this grant is quite broad, remembering that the spirit and intent of this grant is to inspire consumer confidence to return to the marketplace, GENERALLY, there must be both consumers and a marketplace.
    • To clarify, this is a grant, and not a loan. Grants will be awarded at up to $50,000 per eligible business and up to $100,000 per eligible business with multiple locations.
Who is eligible?
    • Private companies are eligible.  Ownership type – such as sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, non-profit – is not the determinative factor. 
    • The business must be licensed to do business in North Dakota, either by the Secretary of state or a tribal licensing authority.  The business must also have a permanent physical location in North Dakota. 
    • The investment proposed to be made must decrease the spread of infection, and this will have to be clearly articulated in the application. 
    • If you have already made qualified improvements (after March 27) these expenditures may be reimbursed through the grant.  Whether the improvement has been already made, or you will be submitting a proposal for future improvements, take care to keep VERY detailed documentation as there will be an audit of your expenses post-award.  Best practice would be to keep the grant award accounted for separately, track expenses, and ensure they are clearly aligned to your proposal.   
    • MARKETPLACE – applicants must demonstrate how they directly interface with consumers or how the improvements directly benefit consumers through supply chain impacts.
Who is not eligible?
  • Businesses with no live customer interaction (not including manufacturers)
  • At-home businesses
  • Companies that are able to relocate employees to remote workplaces and maintain productivity will typically be ineligible. (Offices without customer walk-ins)
  • Governmental, Regulatory, and Public Administrative Entities
  • Lobbying organizations
  • Personal or private residential improvements are ineligible (home based businesses may still have eligible purchases if they are childcare facilities or agriculture-based)
  • Government entities such as universities, K12 systems, are ineligible.  Other government-funded businesses may be INeligible, but not “categorically ineligible”, as we recognize that there are instances where, for example, a city may own a liquor store, a daycare or a grocery store.  Those entities will NOT be ineligible because it is owned by a city because it otherwise meets the definition of a business that provides goods or services to consumers in the marketplace which is consistent with the spirit of this grant. 
  • Any cost related to lobbying activities are ineligible (costs related to improving safety at a street fair hosted by a 501(c)(6) would be eligible.
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What are eligible expenses?

Direct investment to reduce the spread of infection

    • Investments that reduce repetitive touch, such as:
      • Touchless payment systems or document signing systems
      • Automatic faucets, toilets and door kicks
      • Technology to manage take-out, or drive-through orders
      • Improvements that creates distance between customers or employees
      • Expanded outdoor dining
      • Partitions between workers who cannot be socially distanced
    • Purchases of items that directly controls infection, such as:
      • PPE
      • UV sanitizers
      • Temperature checking equipment
    • This is not an exhaustive list. The application provides a space to justify your purchases and explain how they are related to the purpose of the grant. If the expense is deemed justifiable, it will be approved and awarded.

 

What are ineligible expenses?
    • Impact must be DIRECT.  Examples of ineligible expenses for lack of ‘directness’ include:
      • Marketing and advertising costs (costs associated with spending grant money or advertising improvements)
    • Also, this grant is not intended for: 
      • Payroll costs, Refinancing debt, operating costs, and all other expenses not related to COVID-19 safety measures are ineligible.
What is the grant timeline?

 

  • There will be three application rounds or until the money runs out, whichever is sooner.

 

    • Round 1
      • Applications Opens: July 31, 2020
      • Deadline: August 17, 2020
      • Awardees announced by: September 11, 2020
      • Funds dispersed by: September 25, 2020
    • Round 2
      • Application Opens: September 14, 2020
      • Deadline: September 25, 2020
      • Awardees announced by: October 16, 2020
      • Funds dispersed by: October 28, 2020
    • Round 3 – if applicable
What are the post- award obligations?
    • Expected to use the grant money within 45 days of receipt in a manner consistent with your proposal – or return it promptly.
    • Submit documentation to support expenditures (or return funds). Keep copious documentation – your award will be audited to ensure funds were used for approved expenses. 
    • If you receive the ERG and make the safety improvements, you will receive access to NDSmart Restart “badge” for your website and other materials to highlight your ERG improvements.
    • Self-Certification of compliance with NDSmart Restart Protocol

Grant Clarifications

  1. The grant funding is to be used for reducing infection control. Here are some specific examples of infection reduction:
    • Creating distance between businesses’ employees and their customers.
    • Reducing repetitive touch

2. Applicants should apply for the amount of grant money that can be connected to the grant’s mission: reducing the spread

3. Applicants need to certify they have had a negative economic impact from COVID-19.

  • This impact does not need to specifically entail profit losses, but rather an impact on the business in some way such as closed facilities, etc. from COVID-19.

How Bushel can help 

eSignature Contracts: We’ve seen a significant increase in customers sending eSign contracts to their farmers through our platform since COVID began. These customers are no longer having to stuff and mail contract after contract only to have to chase down a signed copy later on.

 

Messaging: Customers are using the Bushel Platform to send push notifications about updates at their grain receiving facilities, including COVID-related updates. These updates are sent directly to the customers that are impacted, therefore avoiding confusion and miscommunication.

* Note, the grant funds does not permit advertisements, but communications through push notifications is a perfect contact- free messaging solution.

 

Remote Implementation and Staff Onboarding: Bushel is equipped to do all onboarding remotely. We work closely with customers during the remote implementation process. This ensures speed to launch, while keeping all parties involved safe.

 

Quick Deployment: Bushel’s staff can implement the Bushel Platform in as little as 30 days. That allows grain facilities and their farmers to more safely conduct business going into harvest in North Dakota. Please note: Quick implementation depends heavily on the responsiveness of each customer and technical requirements.

An example of how push notifications in the Bushel platform elevate no-contact communciation esign-sign2_BAP

Grant application timeline

 

Grant applications for the first round are yet to be determined by the state. The grant funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The sooner you submit your grant application, the higher likelihood you will be funded; however, Bushel cannot guarantee that grant funds will be awarded. 

 

While waiting for the application date to be announced, learn how to apply with this how- to video. 

 

From our understanding, this grant is applicable for certain purchases, so contact our team today at (701) 369-0633 or [email protected] to get a quote of the platform (or a demo if you haven’t seen the platform yet) so that you will be prepared for the application process, or to learn more about how you can use grant funds to pay for the Bushel platform.