Alaska News

New aid program will distribute $90 million to Alaska businesses affected by pandemic

A new $90 million state aid program will distribute money to Alaska businesses affected by COVID-19, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development said Thursday.

Applications will open this fall for 30 days — specific dates have not yet been set — and recipients will be chosen “based on the demonstrated need,” the state agency said in the announcement.

Applicants must be based in Alaska, have reported revenue between $10,000 and $50 million in 2019, have filed taxes in 2019 and 2020, be able to show they lost at least 50% of their net income as a result of COVID-19, and have held an active business license as of Jan. 1.

Nonprofits are not eligible to apply, but commercial fishermen who held a limited entry permit or interim entry permit in 2019 and 2020 are eligible.

[Anchorage’s economy is recovering from the pandemic, but jobs won’t bounce back for another three years, forecast says]

All applicants will be required to say how they intend to spend the money, which will be distributed as a grant, not a loan. The business will not have to repay the money.

All applications will be split into three groups, based on the size of the business. Each group will be eligible for up to 80% of their documented income loss, up to $250,000, $500,000 or $1 million.

Money for the program comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

Initial proposals called for a larger grant program, but the Alaska Legislature instead used money from the act to fund infrastructure projects and make more money available for the 2021 Permanent Fund dividend. The amount of that dividend has not yet been set.

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