NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The state department of revenue is asking small businesses to check their eligibility for some $100 million remaining federal aid dollars due to COVID.
The state received more than $7 billion in federal aid for pandemic response. $200 million was devoted to helping small businesses in what's called the Tennessee Business Relief Program.
So far, 13,000 businesses have received funds from the program, with the max payout being $30,000. However, there are still 18,453 businesses that were sent notifications about the funds who haven't responded to the Department of Revenue.
"We have reached out to them directly with the information we have. We've either sent them an email or we sent them a letter in the mail," said Kelly Cortesi, Communications Director for the TN Department of Revenue.
The minimum payment for businesses that qualify is $2,500.
More than 8,000 of the businesses are in Middle Tennessee.
The Department of Revenue is trying to reach those business owners because the money expires at the end of the year.
"We know that there's a lot going on. We want to make sure that people know about this program and that this money is available," said Cortesi.
The full list of businesses is confidential due to privacy laws. However, there's a long list of business types that qualify if they were negatively impacted by coronavirus.
Examples are retail stores, hospitality businesses, including bars and restaurants, and even independent artists, such as musicians.
Cortesi wants businesses to check their mail or email to see if they've received anything from the Department of Revenue. Even businesses that think they may apply can try to do so via the Tennessee Business Relief Program website.
The owner of several Orangetheory Fitness gyms said she is encouraging other business owners to check after she received enough money to help her pay rent and payroll.
"I've been calling other fitness studio owners that I know and letting them know it's definitely worthwhile to apply. It's easy and there are not a lot of hard questions to answer," said Brigitte Edwards.