Adelup launches $50 million Local Employers’ Assistance Program

Adelup (PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio signed Executive Order 2021-25 on Friday, establishing the Local Employers’ Assistance Program (LEAP) to provide additional assistance to businesses in support of maintaining and increasing employment rates. The program, which draws upon $25 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding, also provides flexibility to businesses for other business-related costs.

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The Guam Economic Development Authority will lead the processing of this program and, while open to a broad spectrum of businesses, those that have experienced interruption as a result of the pandemic will be prioritized. Additionally, loan proceeds of certain amounts that are utilized for employee wages and benefits are to be forgivable under the parameters of the U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program.

“Our businesses are the backbone of our community and through this program, they have our full support in sustaining the gainful employment of our people,” said Governor Leon Guerrero. “Throughout this trying time, our administration has worked to put forth several programs that directly support our people. We haven’t forgotten that our businesses also need our assistance and, for our island to recover as soon as possible, we must continue to support their survival and their ability to generate growth in our economy.”

“This is an opportunity for our business community to further stabilize and forge the strong revitalization of our tourism industry, the jewel of our island’s economy,” said Lt. Governor Tenorio. “Our administration has worked collaboratively with our businesses, in line with the research and data available to us, to make strategic decisions that balance our healthcare response and the insulation of our economy. We will continue working to bolster this balance and we thank our business community for their commitment to staying the course.”

The Committee on Tourism, led by Senators Amanda Shelton, Joe S. San Agustin, and Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes, introduced Bill No. 214-36 to appropriate $25 million in local funds to the program, bringing a total of $50 million in funding for local businesses and their employees.

This new program is the Administration’s fifth small business grant assistance program following the implementation of the Guam Small Business Pandemic Assistance Grant Program 2020, the Healthcare System Stabilization Grant Program, the Guam Small Business Rent Assistance Grant Program, and the Guam Small Business Pandemic Assistance Grant Program 2021.