A new grant assistance program is available to small businesses in rural communities of Hana and on Molokai and Lanai, the mayor's Office of Economic Development said.
The program, called "Small Business Revitalization," is designed to assist small businesses with fewer than 10 employees who do business in these rural communities. Lokahi Pacific has been selected to manage the grant program.
The grants may be used for new equipment, renovation, websites, marketing materials or other purposes that will help the businesses grow, prosper and create jobs.
The grant program is a 40/60 match grant that awards $60 for every $40 contributed by grant recipients; grant awards will range from $500 to $5,000.
Nonprofit entities will not be eligible for the program.
The selection of grantees will be made by a representative from a bank in each community and a representative from both the Office of Economic Development and Lokahi Pacific.
"Hana and Molokai have been identified as the areas hardest hit in their ability to recover from the economic downturn of the past few years," Mayor Alan Arakawa said.
He lauded the program's innovative approach that allows applicants to determine their needs and in a low-cost way to meet them. On Lanai, Larry Ellison has created opportunities since buying most of the island last year, but businesses "may not have the much-needed cash to ramp up businesses." The grant will help with that.
Council Member Robert Carroll, whose residency district encompasses Hana, said that the grant gives the East Maui community business owners a unique opportunity to produce products more efficiently and to become more profitable.
"During the recession, many of our residents suffered loss of income, loss of jobs, and may have issues with their credit and their borrowing ability," Carroll said. "This program is a great opportunity for our community."
Applications and rules for the program are available at Lokahi Pacific, 1935 Main St., Suite 204, Wailuku, or online at www.mauicounty.gov/oed (click on "Grants and Awards").
Completed applications may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The grant application deadline is Sept. 10; applications must be emailed, faxed or postmarked by that date.
For more information, call 242-5761.