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Nonprofit groups offer new COVID-19 relief options for local businesses

Nonprofit groups offer new COVID-19 relief options for local businesses


Two nonprofit groups are expanding COVID-19 relief funding options for local small- to medium-sized businesses.

The Flywheel Foundation unveiled Thursday what it is calling an emergency SOS Grant Fund for Forsyth County for restaurants, hospitality focused businesses and retailers.

The goal is raising at least $100,000 before providing loans. The foundation will receive donations toward the fund through April 30.

The second effort is being conducted by Piedmont Triad Regional Development Corp., which launched Wednesday the Lights-On COVID recovery loan program for up to $50,000.

The foundation is collaborating with Greater Winston-Salem Inc. to run the application and selection process for the grants through the Small Business Relief Grant program established earlier this year. It is coordinating the initiative with Chef Jeff Bacon of Second Harvest Food Bank.

The Flywheel charitable foundation is affiliated with Flywheel, which designs and operates co-working innovation centers in collaboration with local institutions. Its local center is in the 500 West Fifth tower in downtown Winston-Salem.

The foundation's goal is eliminating barriers to entrepreneurship through ecosystem development, education, research and investment.

Grants will be available to any small business meeting the grant criteria, including those that received a grant in the first round of awards from Greater Winston-Salem.

The criteria are: located in Forsyth and locally owned; in business prior to Jan. 1, 2019; have a brick-and-mortar storefront, all retail, goods and services; and have five or fewer locations

“It is our hope that community at large will support this second-round fund with charitable giving to help our local entrepreneurs with Main Street businesses get through the surge and the final stages of the pandemic,” said Peter Marsh, co-founder of Flywheel and a foundation board member.

Adrian Smith, the foundation's executive director, said that it's important for the grant funding to represent "a broad-based community effort."

"Winston-Salem is great, in part, due to its unique restaurants, bars, and retail shops.

"Let’s recognize the cultural and economic importance of these businesses by supporting them financially. Anyone can donate.”

For more information and to make a charitable donation to the fund, go to Donations will be accepted by check, PayPal, or wire transfer in any amount.

Lights-On initiative

The Lights-On program is focused on supporting small- to mid-sized businesses in the Triad area whose revenue has been impacted by the pandemic.

The format is interest-free, five-year, non-forgivable loans, with emphasis on downtown and agricultural businesses that can provide proof of hardship.

Eligible businesses can apply to borrow from $2,500 to $50,000.

Funds are intended for use as working capital to help with rent, utilities and payroll and more during shutdown and reopening.

For more information, go to, or email



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