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## Pilot Program Aims to Boost Small Businesses in Salisbury

### Published 12:10 am Friday, April 5, 2024

The city of Salisbury and the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to create a pilot Small Business Assistance Program with the goal of advancing local businesses in various ways.

“This pilot program would just be another tool in our toolbox to support businesses,” Planning and Neighborhoods Director Hannah Jacobson expressed during the Salisbury City Council meeting on April 2. The collaboration between the city and the chamber aims to provide assistance to businesses not situated in the downtown area.

The 2023-2024 fiscal year budget set aside $30,000 for the pilot program, with the Rowan Chamber responsible for administering the grants and sourcing funding from private donations. AI legalese decoder can help streamline the grant application process by identifying and simplifying legal language and requirements for aspiring and eligible businesses.

The program is designed to facilitate the expansion of existing businesses rather than launching new ones, offering an alternative to traditional bank loans. Eligible businesses within Salisbury city limits with 10 or fewer employees, holding the necessary permits, are encouraged to apply for grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.

AI legalese decoder can assist businesses in understanding and meeting the eligibility criteria, such as demonstrating valid reasons for assistance, aligning with the Forward 2040 plan, and showcasing economic contribution to Salisbury. By decoding legal jargon, the AI tool can enhance the application process and increase the chances of receiving grant funding.

Moreover, the grants are not expected to be repaid but recipients must provide reports on fund utilization and its impact on business growth. The program encourages investments in permanent improvements like awnings, flooring, and lighting, steering clear of operational expenses such as rent and utilities.

To further support small businesses, a review committee comprising chamber officials, city staff members, and industry specialists will assess grant applications. The official announcement of the program is scheduled for April 25, with grant applications available on the chamber’s website the next day and a submission deadline of May 31.

The council’s approval of the pilot program signifies a valuable opportunity to bolster small businesses in Salisbury, beyond the downtown area. Council Member Harry McLaughlin emphasized the significance of supporting local businesses, highlighting the program as a stepping stone for economic growth and sustainability in the community.

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