The state Department of Economic Development has created a Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program (BEGAP), which is a $20 million grant program for businesses and nonprofits that suffered physical damages from flooding dating back to July 7.
The online portal to apply was expected to be launched Thursday, Aug. 3. Applicants must intend on restoring, reopening, and bringing their employees back to work as soon as possible and will use these grant funds for that purpose.
The following information on how to prepare for the application process was provided by the Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation, and CVEDC is offering assistance with the process from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at its new location in the former La Brioche space in City Center in Montpelier.
Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program
The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) will open an application portal for business owners to apply for grants (which do not need to be repaid) to support the repair of physical damage that a business suffered during the flood. Physical damage means a loss or damage to your building, equipment, or inventory that will cost you money.
The application will ask you to begin to think about your economic impact or loss of revenue as well. This question will allow the agency to begin to collect data on the economic impact of the flood. Central Vermont businesses were extremely helpful in getting information about physical damage to the CVEDC and 211. The agency will work with you to get economic impact documented and work with you on pathways to support these losses as a next step.
How Can I Prepare?
The CVEDC is ready to help you prepare for this application. The funds are available first-come, first-served, so applying in a timely manner is important. But please do not stress. The CVEDC will be in close communication with its state partners to help you through the process at a reasonable pace so you can be accurate and thoughtful.
Take the time now to think about putting these materials together:
Contact information: where will you be able to receive mail if a paper check is sent to you?
Damaged property location and ownership documentation such as property tax bill, lease;
Federal Employer Tax Identification Number (FEIN);
Insurance policy information: the application will ask for your insurance certification, an adjuster’s report if one was created for your loss, and an insurance claim if one has been finalized for you;
Other funding you have received to support the flood loss;
A description of the impact of the flooding on the applicant: this will have a 1,000 character limit;
The type of damage and estimated costs for repair/replacement: if you have a quote, it will help to add this to your estimate;
An economic injury estimate and description (anticipated or actual revenue loss). As mentioned above, this cost won’t be paid through this program but is helpful for the ACCD to begin its documentation;
The most recently filed Federal Tax Return (or 990): If you have an extension to file late in 2022, that extension stands and you may use your 2021 tax filing;
A Profit and Loss Statement if the business started in 2023. This is only required if you are a new business started in 2023;
An updated IRS Form W-9: this must be a 2023 version dated in the last six months, with a real ink (“wet”) signature, scanned.
Who Can Apply for this Program?
Businesses and nonprofits that sustained physical damages during the flooding event beginning July 7, 2023. All types of businesses (LLC, sole proprietor, corporation, etc.) and all types of nonprofits are included.
If you own an agricultural business, the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) will be posting separate guidance very soon and this program page will provide a link. If agricultural businesses have questions, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org
These are the additional business requirements for this funding:
The business must have been established prior to the July 2023 flood;
Physical property damages must be located in Vermont;
The location for business operations and/or the business assets must have suffered physical damages from the July 2023 flood, and the business intends to reopen in the same location or elsewhere in Vermont and will utilize the grant funds for this purpose.
The following are ineligible entities:
Businesses or nonprofits that sustained only economic injury (revenue loss);
Individual homeowners (for home-based businesses, this application only pertains to business assets).
How Much Funding is Available?
This grant will aim to be one piece in the puzzle of making your business whole after the storm. It is only for businesses that plan to reopen.
You may still be working to estimate and understand the cost of the physical damage you’ve experienced. You may also have already received or be receiving payout on an insurance claim.
If you have less than $1 million in damages not covered by insurance or another grant, you can apply to receive up to $20,000 or 20% of your total loss, whichever is less.
Example: if you had $180,000 in damages and received a $4,000 grant and $25,000 from your insurance, you’d be eligible for the maximum award of $20,000. If you had $150,000 of damage and received a $2,500 grant and had a $55,000 insurance payout, you’d be eligible for $18,500.
For businesses that have more than $1 million in damages beyond what insurance and other grants will cover, you may have an opportunity for an “enhanced award” based on the number of full-time employees you had just before the flood. These awards range from $100,000 to $500,000.
If you have more than one property, you may apply to this program for up to three business locations as separate applications.