SEATTLE -- The city of Seattle announced the first 250 small businesses have received grants to help them stay afloat. Nearly 9,000 businesses applied for the $10,000 grants.
The owner of Bananas Grill in South Seattle was one of the lucky ones to receive the grant.
"Oh, this was huge. It gave us a lifeline at a time where things are very up in the air. We felt so lucky and blessed," said Fowzi Abdi.
Abdi says business is down by 90%. Much of the losses came from catering events that had to be canceled.
"It was a huge impact. It just happened like that, all of a sudden everything plummeted," said Abdi.
The businesses were chosen in a lottery and Mayor Jenny Durkan wanted to focus outreach on historically underserved small businesses that would suffer the most. The $2.5 million Small Business Stabilization Fund is funded by the Federal Community Development Block Grants. Eligible businesses must have 5 employees or less, and for the business owner to be at or below 80% of the area median income.
Abdi says he'll use the money to pay bills and his 5 employees and the grant will likely get them by for 6 weeks. After that, he plans to take it one day at a time.
"It's going to be a week to week, day to day thing, but we're determined to stay in the community and determined to stay in business," said Abdi.
Comcast has donated $50,000 to address the urgent need for future rounds of the Stabilization Fund. This investment will help ensure the Office of Economic Development (OED) can continue providing direct capital assistance to small business owners struggling to support their employees and stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested individuals and organizations can donate to the Stabilization Fund by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.