Relief Fund - AD

Process & Application

Updated 5/12/20

The application is now closed. 

Overview & Guidelines

The Entrepreneur Fund, Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation, Northland Foundation, and Northspan have partnered in developing the Small Business Relief Fund to support businesses in our region hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Funding will be used to provide financial assistance to business owners who are facing significant challenges.

The Relief Fund will provide direct grants to small business owners in northeast and central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. The smallest of small businesses needing immediate liquidity to make key changes to operations and weather this storm. 

Efforts will be focused on businesses with the following qualifications:

  1. Be an existing small business, less than 5 FTEs.
  2. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Federal Government Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and State Government Small Business Emergency Loan programs do not fit.
  3. Business affected by the disaster (all businesses; not only those included in the State of MN executive order).
  4. Priority will be given to those businesses that serve as a core community staple such as rural/community grocery stores, restaurants, downtown/main street retail or hospitality, etc.
  5. Fund review committee determination that the available grants will make a discernable impact on the sustainability of the business.
  6. Timing is of the essence for disbursement of funds.

These grants could be paired with consulting support and other financial resources that include flexible working capital loans and other local, state, and federal resources that become available.

Business Eligibility & Guidelines

  • Businesses located within the Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Taconite Assistance Area (Map here).
  • Be current on financial obligations as of March 1st, 2020.
  • Affirm they intend to remain open or to reopen.
  • Demonstrate need for financial support.
  • Have taken steps to access available insurance, resources, and applicable local, state, and or federal programs.
  • If applicant owns multiple businesses, one application may be submitted per business.
  • Franchises not locally owned are not eligible.
  • Business owner must locally reside in service area.

Grant Size

  • Up to $5,000

Eligible uses

Grants may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.

Grant Terms

  • Businesses will be required to submit a 6-month status report on business revenue, jobs retained/created, and other applicable outcomes following COVID-19 response and long-term outlook. Template will be provided.
  • Grantee will provide financial documents as requested.
  • Grant award information and business outcomes may be shared with federal, state, or local agencies assisting with disaster recovery and/or funders of the Small Business Relief Fund.


  • The second round will launch on Tuesday, May 12 at 8:00 AM and close the SAME DAY, Tuesday, May 12 at 8:00 PM
  • Funds are limited and applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis.
  • Only complete applications will be considered.

Application Process

The link to the application will be available here during the open period (Tuesday, May 12 at 8:00 AM and close the SAME DAY, Tuesday, May 12 at 8:00 PM). 

Brought to you through a partnership with

Partner Logos