Small business relief now available through LEAP; application period to open Monday

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Tumon skyline. Many tourism-related businesses are still closed or in danger of shutting down. LEAP will provide direct financial assistance to small businesses that experienced extreme levels of pandemic-related interruption. (PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has announced that the opening of the application period for the Local Employers’ Assistance Program (LEAP) will be at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, December 20, 2021.

LEAP was established through Executive Order 2021-25 and will provide direct financial assistance to small businesses that experienced extreme levels of pandemic-related interruption.

LEAP funding will be prioritized for the following:

Small businesses that can demonstrate a business interruption rate of 50% or greater; and

Small businesses that have been verified as a “covered establishment” pursuant to Department of Public Health & Social Services requirements and that can demonstrate a business interruption rate of 20% or greater.

LEAP provides loans to small businesses that meet all eligibility criteria, chief among them a demonstration of business interruption experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Loan funds can be used for eligible business operating expenses with a focus on ensuring that businesses have adequate resources to maintain and possibly increase employment. Loans may be forgiven if at least 60% of all proceeds are used for eligible employee wage and benefit costs.

“The pandemic continues to present significant challenges to our economy. To support revitalization efforts, my administration has distributed over $90 million in direct aid to local small businesses,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “We have prioritized LEAP funding for small businesses that experienced severe levels of pandemic-related interruption. This ensures that our economy remains active in anticipation of what we all hope are prosperous days ahead.”

“LEAP is an important tool that will create job opportunities and strengthen our economic recovery,” said Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio. “The relief and strategic help provided through this robust program support the stabilization of our tourism industry and other businesses that suffered profound pandemic losses. I strongly encourage all eligible small businesses to apply.”

“On behalf of GEDA, I would like to extend our thanks to Governor Leon Guerrero and the 36th Guam Legislature for mobilizing funds to help our hardest hit small businesses through LEAP,” said GEDA CEO and Administrator Melanie Mendiola. “As with the other assistance programs, we aim to review and award LEAP loans as swiftly and efficiently as possible.”

The full program guidelines, application, and other information can be found on the GEDA website. Applications will be accepted via email at leap@gedagrant.com or drop box at the GEDA offices located on the fifth floor of the ITC Building in Tamuning beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, December 20. For the health and safety of the public, email submissions are strongly recommended.

For more information, visit the LEAP program website at www.investguam.com/LEAP or contact GEDA at 671-647-4332.

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