Lowcountry Local First and Home Telecom Partner to Provide Relief to Small Businesses

Lowcountry Local First (LLF) has partnered with local-independent telecom company Home Telecom to launch a Small Business Relief Grants program to aid business owners who’ve faced adverse impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Initiated by the generosity of Home Telecom through a gift of $50,000, the two entities implore for additional corporations to expand the fund for deeper economic investment for the Lowcountry with a goal of doubling this initial gift to reach $100,000.

Locally-owned and independent businesses headquartered within the Tri-County region can apply for grants of $1,000 or $2,000 to use at their discretion towards business operations. All grants are non-repayable and will require no formal reporting. Applications will be available via the Lowcountry Local First website starting September 14th and will feature a series of questions to assess need and eligibility.

“Being a family-owned, local business in the Tri-County region, it is Home Telecom’s belief that taking a financial interest in the communities we serve is vital to the continued successful growth of our region,” said William S. Helmly, President and CEO of Home Telecom. Helmly continues, “We felt the need to do something to specifically support small, local businesses in the Tri-County region experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19. I challenge other Tri-County business leaders to join in on the effort.”

“We are extremely grateful that Home Telecom recognized the struggle facing so many of our small businesses right now and has stepped up to do something — in a big way!” says Barbie Schreiner, Director of Development for Lowcountry Local First. “This fund will provide meaningful and swift assistance to those who need it to keep their lights on and food on the table. We expect an overwhelming number of applicants, so we look to others in our community who are able to step up and help us grow this fund so that we don’t have to turn anyone away who needs this assistance.”

Eligibility criteria will focus on the smaller businesses in the Tri-County region who were ineligible for federal aid like micro-entrepreneurs — businesses with 0-3 employees and less than $250,000 in annual revenue (approximately $35k-$45k in net profits). These businesses need immediate assistance to sustain the impact from decreased business and cash flow caused by COVID-19.

The applications will be reviewed by a small committee weekly on a rolling basis until the threshold of applicants has been met. Notification will be sent within 7-10 business days indicating if their application has been accepted, denied or under further consideration.

Contributions to the fund can be made directly to Lowcountry Local First by going online, or by mailing a check and writing “Small Business Relief Fund” in the memo line and sending it to P.O. Box 72018, North Charleston, SC 29415. You may also call in a donation to 843-801-3390.
Lowcountry Local First cultivates an economy anchored in local ownership, because local-independent businesses are the cornerstone of our culture, economy, and character. To learn more about Lowcountry Local First, visit lowcountrylocalfirst.org or email jordan@lowcountrylocalfirst.org.

Home Telecom is one of the largest independently-owned telecom companies in South Carolina, serving various counties since 1904. To learn more, visit homesc.com or contact Gina Shuler at gina.shuler@hometelco.com or 843-761-9178.

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