A program built to help the smallest of Vermont businesses has received a $1 million boost and is taking applications.
The Micro Business Development Program has been around for years, said Tyler Jokinen, Project EMBRACE coordinator at BROC Community Action. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it paired businesses with five employees or less up with experts who could both advise them and connect them with sources of financial assistance.
“Project EMBRACE was a proposal that we came up with at the beginning of the pandemic to serve our clients better,” said Jokinen.
What the project does is award grants of between $2,500 and $5,000 to qualifying businesses. Among the criteria are, the business must have been established before March 1, affected by a COVID-19 related loss between March 1 and Nov. 1, and the recipient must be at or below 80% of the Vermont median household income level. Businesses can’t be