Arizona Launches Program To Help Small Businesses Recover From Pandemic, Extreme Weather

Published by The Bee News

August 24, 2021

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Governor Doug Ducey on Friday announced $5 million to launch the Back to Work Small Business Rehiring and Retention Program, with a special focus on helping Arizona businesses affected by wildfires and flooding.

“Arizona’s small business community is resilient. From the effects of the pandemic to enduring storms that impact entire communities, small business owners and their employees continue to push forward and thrive,” said Governor Ducey. “We want to make sure they have the resources needed to grow and serve their customers, and our new Small Business Rehiring and Retention Program will do just that. My thanks goes to Arizona’s small business community and everyone who works to support the incredible talent all across our state — their efforts build jobs and expand opportunity in Arizona.”

The Small Business Rehiring and Retention Program is designed to assist small, locally owned or operated businesses hire and retain employees. The program will fund up to $10,000 in expenditures for employee hiring/signing bonuses, relocation bonuses for employees that are moving to take an open position, and employee retention bonuses.

An Arizona small business has to meet eligibility requirements to receive funding, including it must be: owned and operated in the state of Arizona; incorporated before January 1, 2020; rent or lease a physical location in Arizona; have between five and 25 total employees that work at the physical location. Eligible businesses in areas impacted by wildfires or floods may have up to 50 employees.

“This program is a win for small businesses across Arizona,” said Representative Jeff Weninger. “Effectively hiring and maintaining employees is crucial for the success of any business, but especially the smaller businesses. This new program will help them continue to bounce back from the pandemic and extreme weather, and they’ll have the opportunity to expand operations. Thank you to Governor Ducey for supporting job creators and workers throughout our state.”

Areas throughout Arizona are facing the effects of wildfires, storms and flooding, and the weather is impacting small businesses and their operations. Currently, rainfall in areas of Northern Area that have post-fire burn scars is causing significant flooding. Additionally, record flooding has caused extensive damage to homes and property in Gila Bend. In response the Governor issued a Declaration of Emergency and directed the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to activate the State Emergency Operations Center in support of field operations.

“Small businesses create jobs, support communities and serve Arizonans’ needs,” said Representative Aaron Lieberman. “I’m thrilled to see the launch of the Small Business Rehiring and Retention Program and look forward to all it will do to foster small business growth and help Arizona workers. I am so pleased to have been able to work with Governor Ducey and his team to make this program a reality.”

The Small Business Rehiring and Retention Program is a new component of Governor Ducey’s Arizona “Back to Work” plan announced in May. The plan is designed to support Arizonans getting back to work and fill the thousands of jobs available across the state.

The Arizona Commerce Authority is currently accepting applications from business owners.

On August 16, Governor Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency in response to flash flooding in Gila Bend, making up to $200,000 available for response and recovery efforts.

On June 18, the Governor signed a $100 million bipartisan relief package to support firefighters and safety officials as they battle wildfires, ensure Arizona communities have the resources necessary for post-fire disasters such as flooding and reduce the risk from future wildfires.

On July 9, the Governor signed legislation that further reduces and streamlines taxes while protecting small businesses from the threat of a 77 percent tax increase.

On November 6 2020, the Governor announced $7 million to support economic recovery efforts to support Arizona’s small business and hospitality sector that was hit hard by the pandemic.

On July 8, 2020, the Governor announced $600,000 to fund the launch of Arizona Small Business Association’s (ASBA) Live Local program, training small businesses to find and navigate resources available during COVID-19, helping them build relationships within their communities, providing mentoring and internship programs, and more.

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