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Chamber offers grants to small business

Drew Butler
drew.butler@ardmoreite.com

On Wednesday, Governor Stitt announced his proposed plan to reopen the state. Different aspects of public life and the economy will be opened up in phases, and the announcement comes on the heels of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce’s announcement of their micro grant program to help small businesses. The Chamber will be giving away $25,000 to member small businesses to help with their marketing promotions as things start to open up.

President Mita Bates said the grant program is the next phase in the work they have been doing to support small business throughout the pandemic.

The Chamber immediately recognized the impact of the closures on our area businesses,” Bates said. “The first thing we did was try to keep people engaged with shopping local, so we did our promotions for about three and a half weeks. That was so well received, and we wanted to look forward to the next step.”

Bates said that based on comments coming from the governor, the Chamber anticipated that some of the restrictions will be reduced in the near future, and they wanted to help small business members in getting ready to reopen.

“Usually the number one challenge that they have from a budgeting point of view is they don’t have marketing dollars,” Bates said. So we went out in search of some programs that other organizations were doing across the country that might be able to be adapted for Ardmore.”

Bates said the Chamber board of directors decided to introduce a grant program in order to help small businesses announce and better promote their reopening. Twenty businesses with less than ten employees will each be awarded $500 grants, and 15 businesses with between 10 and 50 employees will receive $1,000.

Bates said the application is simple and only one page. The funds can be used for digital, print, television or radio marketing.

Chamber members can apply for the grant though 5 p.m. on Friday, April 27. Funds will be awarded on a first-come basis until the funds are gone, and payments will be made on May 1. Bates said the chamber has already received a significant amount of applications, but some funds still remain.

“The chamber’s leadership has allowed us to say that we’re going to invest in our members,” Bates said. "It’s so amazing to see the organization say that we want to help our members and we want to invest our dollars in their business. We’re hoping this will be one small piece of the recovery. Moving on as we come out of the pandemic, we will continue to reevaluate what role the chamber plays in continuing to support our members as well as the community at large.”