Oahu offers millions of dollars in aid to small businesses struggling amid pandemic

HONOLULU, HI — Applications for the ‘Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund’ opened up this past Monday for small businesses around Oahu that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fil-Am owned restaurant Senpai and Cat Cafe, Popoki + Tea are among many businesses struggling to stay afloat.

“When this whole pandemic was going on, like our sales were dropping a lot to where we would have to, we had to shut down our storefront,” said Justin Abadilla.

“We signed the lease for our current space, which opened its doors just this past February. So we were open for five weeks before we closed because of COVID-19,” said Liberty Peralta.

Oahu is using $25 million dollars of the $387 million Hawaii received from the federal government’s historic coronavirus stimulus aid for small, ‘mom and pop’ businesses on the island to apply for grants of up to $10,000 each.

“A lot of small businesses that are locally owned were shut out of both federal loan programs. Um, so any little bit that can help our small businesses, um, will really help,” said Peralta.

To qualify, small businesses must operate in Oahu, have a commercial address, have less than 30 employees and have an annual revenue of less than $1 million.

“It’s even more important now to support our local businesses, because they are the heartbeat of our community. They are the fabric of our communities. If they go away, the likelihood of our communities go away as well as jobs,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, President & CEO, Chamber Of Commerce Hawaii.

Business owners can only apply for grants through participating local credit unions, but they do not have to be members of the credit union to get approved.

Once the application for grant is approved, loans are expected to be released within a week.

For more information and to apply, visit oneoahu.org.

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