TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly has announced businesses will soon be able to apply for a total of more than $130 million in grants to serve those most affected by the pandemic and for companies that can expand broadband access in the state.
Information on SPARK economic development and connectivity grant programs can now be found online at kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief. Grant applications will be accepted beginning at 12:00 p.m. Wed., Aug. 19, 2020.
“These funds will both provide necessary immediate relief to businesses and contribute to a more strategic, competitive Kansas economy in the future,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “I want to thank the SPARK Taskforce for recommending these strategic investments and the State Finance Council for approving the use of these funds.”
In addition to providing financial relief, grants will be available to businesses whose products and services will be needed in greater volume to help combat the virus and its effects. Funding is also being made available to expand broadband access both through infrastructure improvements and by partnerships with internet service providers to serve low-income households. These grants are funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund of the federal CARES Act.
This pandemic has affected each sector differently, with industries having very different needs from one another. With this in mind, applications for grants are being made available in the following categories:
Small Business Working Capital Grants
Kansas businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to apply for Small Business Working Capital grants. Funds can be used to pay working capital expenses such as payroll, rent, mortgage insurance, utilities, inventory, and more. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until funds are depleted.
Securing Local Food Systems Grants
The Securing Local Food Systems grant program was created to support Kansas meat processing facilities, food processors, grocers, and food banks to address food for human consumption supply chain disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
PPE Procurement Grants
The PPE Procurement grant program will award businesses funds for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), implementation of workplace redesigns, additional signage, new technology solutions for distance working, and other items to comply with COVID-19 public health guidelines on safely returning employees to work.
PPE Manufacturing Grants
PPE Manufacturing grants will provide funding to manufacturers to reimburse certain costs to manufacture critically needed PPE. The grant funding will assist entities with creating new businesses while contributing to the fight against the current COVID-19 public health emergency.
COVID-19 Bioscience Product Development Acceleration Grants
Kansas has a strong pipeline of bioscience-related companies developing SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic, therapeutic, and medical countermeasures. This grant program will accelerate commercialization and go-to-market strategies, allowing these Kansas companies to quickly deploy novel technology by optimizing value and reducing risk through informed decision making.
Connectivity Emergency Response Grants
The Connectivity Emergency Response Grant (CERG) was created to address the increased need for connectivity in Kansas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposed projects should improve connectivity to unserved and underserved areas of Kansas to address the needs of telework, telehealth, distance learning, and other remote business services.
Broadband Partnership Adoption Grants
The Broadband Partnership Adoption Grant will provide support for low-income households by partnering with ISPs to leverage their existing adoption infrastructure and assure connectivity to as many Kansans as possible.
Domestic Supply Chain Fortification Grant
This Domestic Supply Chain Fortification grant will help offset the business disruptions to Kansas companies’ supply chains caused by COVID-19 and assist with relocating jobs to Kansas from outside of the US. Where appropriate, this grant program would be offered in addition to existing incentive programs (PEAK, KIT, HPIP, etc.) to improve the state’s competitiveness.
IT, Cybersecurity & IT Project Management Certification Training Grants
To mitigate the job losses in Kansas as a result of COVID-19, the Kansas Department of Commerce is seeking a rapid response training program that will provide training, certificate testing, and job placement assistance in the areas of IT, cybersecurity, and IT project management.
Higher Education Advanced Manufacturing & IT Equipment Grants
This program will support the needs of the advanced manufacturing industry in Kansas. The program will focus on reskilling/upskilling individuals affected by COVID-19 to meet economic sector needs in high-demand, high-wage occupations.
Details on each category, including award amounts, proposal requirements, eligibility and more can be found at kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief.