WAILUKU - The county Office of Economic Development last week announced a new grant assistance program designed for small businesses in the rural communities of Hana, Molokai and Lanai.
The Small Business Revitalization Program is designed to assist small businesses with fewer than ten 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 are not eligible for this program.
The selection of grantees will be made by a representative from a bank in each community, along with a representative from both OED 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 noted.
"Businesses on Lanai now have a new set of opportunities with the island being under new ownership, but may not have the much-needed cash to ramp up their businesses. This program is innovative because it allows applicants in all of these rural areas to determine exactly what they need in their business, and gives them a great opportunity and low-cost way to make it happen."
County Councilman Robert Carroll of Hana said the Small Business Revitalization grants give Hana residents who own their businesses a unique opportunity to produce products more efficiently and thus 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," Councilman Carroll said.
"This program is a great opportunity for our community."
Applications and rules for the program are available at Lokahi Pacific at 1935 Main St., Suite 204, in Wailuku, or online at www.mauicounty.gov/OED (click on "Grants and Awards").
For more information, call 242-5761.
The grant application deadline is Sept. 10, 2013.