Shawnee Forward: Small business Relief Fund grant applications due Dec. 23

The Shawnee News-Star
Downtown Shawnee

Shawnee Forward Inc, in collaboration with Pottawatomie County Commissioners, the City of Shawnee and the City of Tecumseh, have announced a Small Business Relief Fund grant program of $155,000 to help meet the urgent needs of small businesses in the county impacted by the COVID-19 virus. The deadline to apply is Dec. 23. 

According to Shawnee Forward CEO Rachel Melot, Tecumseh, Shawnee and the county have allocated money from their CARES Acts funds to fund the grant program. 

Melot said Shawnee Forward will be administering the grants and business owners generating less than $2 million in gross revenue in 2019 and employee under 50 full time equivalent people may be eligible. 

Additional criteria for grant application eligibility is listed at  

Shawnee Forward Inc., is a business alliance that was created in 2017 with the merger of the Greater Shawnee Chamber of Commerce and the Shawnee Economic Development Foundation. 

There are more than 400 business and individual members in Shawnee Forward and the organization has established a task force of members to review the applications against a rubric that will be posted on the website with the application and applicant criteria. 

“Our priority continues to be focused on getting critically needed relief into the hands of those businesses that need it most,” Melot said.  

The purpose of the grant program is to provide grants up to $5,000 to small business.  

“The Small Business Relief Fund, along with our 'Shop Local' campaigns, build on our commitment to getting funds to small businesses across our county and creating a strong foundation for the success of the greater Shawnee area’s workers and economy," Melot said. 

According to Tecumseh Chamber of Commerce Director Leslie Merritt, the Chamber, which has more than 100 members, is dedicated to helping local businesses throughout the county. 

“Together we are fully committed to supporting our small businesses and their employees across the state as they navigate and persevere through this pandemic," Merritt said. "By putting this federal funding to work, we can provide immediate assistance to those businesses hardest-hit by the pandemic."  

Board members of Shawnee Forward and the Tecumseh Chamber are not eligible to apply, nor are staff of either of those organizations, or any businesses they may own.  

In addition, businesses owned by Pottawatomie County Commissioners and Shawnee City Commissioners are also ineligible.  

Submissions can include funds the business has already spent for reimbursement and funds they anticipate spending to keep the business in operation. 

The criteria for the funding is publicly posted and Shawnee Forward and Tecumseh Chamber of Commerce member businesses will receive preference. 

The deadline for the applications is December 23, with awards being granted by the end of January 2021.  

For questions about the grant program contact Melot at 405-273-6092 or, Jeremy Davidson at 405-273-6092 or or visit