More than 1,000 businesses apply for pandemic grants; initial checks already being processed

Tumon skyline. Many tourism-related businesses are still closed or in danger of shutting down. (PNC file photo)

The Guam Economic Development Authority has started forwarding to the Department of Administration applications for its Small Business Pandemic Assistance Grant Program 2021 (PAG2021).

The program just opened last week and on the very first day, GEDA already received a total of 671 applications.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 15, GEDA already received a total of 1062 applications.

GEDA administrator Melanie Mendiola said they’ve already transmitted an initial batch of applications to DOA for processing.

“We’ve already started transmitting them. DOA has asked that we transmit once a week so we sent our first batch of 73 recipients in for a total award amount of $1.24 million. And we anticipate sending probably around 250 or so by Monday,” Mendiola said during GEDA’s board meeting Thursday.

According to Mendiola, applicants can check the status of their grants online on the GEDA website.

“We have a much lower rate of incomplete applications than we did for the previous pandemic assistance in 2020. We believe this is in part due to the fact that we made information available with a lot of lead times several months ago, in addition to simplifying the process a little bit more. So, really, what small businesses need to submit is just their business license and their BPT. And we also have a self-certification that they signed but for the most part, we’ve tried to keep this process as simple as possible,” Mendiola said.

She added that those who applied for the federal shuttered venue operator grant would still be eligible for the small business pandemic assistance grant. However, GEDA will be prioritizing those that did not apply for federal grants.

“The shuttered venue operators will be treated just like the recipients of the restaurant relief grants. They are not ineligible but they are prioritized later on in the process. So first we work with the businesses who have not received the federal assistance,” Mendiola said.

The PAG2021 program provides direct financial assistance to Guam small businesses that meet all eligibility criteria and can demonstrate at least twenty-five percent (25%) business interruption during the COVID-19 pandemic. This extends to small businesses that opened in both 2020 and 2021, as long as they meet all eligibility criteria.

“The PAG2021 grant is open to a broad spectrum of small businesses, and I strongly encourage business owners and managers to review the comprehensive program information on our website,” Mendiola said.