Small-business owners who want a share of the $575,000 in federal money the city will make available for coronavirus relief can attend a meeting Aug. 6 to learn how to apply.

The city anticipates opening the application process in mid-August. The informational meeting is scheduled for 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 6 and will be hosted on Zoom. Participants can join the virtual meeting at

Local minority- and women-owned businesses will receive priority consideration for the microenterprise and small-business recovery loan programs, and representatives of the city's Housing Programs division have been working to reach out to them with information.

Housing Programs Manager Randy Cole, at a recent meeting of the Columbia City Council, outlined the criteria that will be used to score applications. Here's the breakdown:

  • One point for businesses with 100% ownership residing within Columbia.
  • One point for businesses with at least 51% minority ownership.
  • One point for businesses with at least 51% female ownership.
  • One point for businesses that were unable to access the Paycheck Protection Program or the Small Business Administration program.
  • One point for businesses investing at least 20% of assistance in adhering to social-distancing requirements and business resiliency.

The city also has published a flier with more information about the microenterprise and small-business recovery loan programs.

  • I've been a reporter and editor at Missouri community newspapers for 35 years and joined the Columbia Missourian in 2003. My emphasis at the Missourian is on local government and elections. You can reach me at or at 573-884-5366.

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