Governor Announces ‘Revive Plus’ $200M Small Business Grant Program

The state has launched Revive Plus, a $200 million grant program to support small businesses, non-profits and faith-based organizations in Alabama that have been impacted by COVID-19, Gov. Kay Ivey announced.

Revive Plus is the second wave of funding for these organizations with 50 or fewer employees and will award grants of up to $20,000 for expenses they have incurred due to operational interruptions caused by the pandemic and related business closures.

“As the state has rolled out over $1 billion of the CARES Act monies to the individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19, it became evident the group most overwhelmingly hurt during the pandemic were the small ‘mom and pop’ shops,” Ivey said. “A second round of assistance through Revive Plus will ensure that the small business owners who have borne the brunt of the downed economy can be made as whole as possible.

“As we head into the holiday season, my hope is that this will be welcome news for our businesses and help ease their burdens from what has been a very hard year.”

Entities may receive up to $20,000 to reimburse qualifying expenses if they have not received federal assistance for the corresponding item they are claiming with the state of Alabama.

The Revive Plus grant is in addition to any state of Alabama Coronavirus Relief Fund grant previously received, including the Revive Alabama Small Business, Non-Profit, Faith-Based, and Health Care Provider grants. There is no set cap on the number of entities that may be awarded a Revive Plus Grant.

Information and applications are available at the Coronavirus Relief Fund website – https://crf.alabama.gov/. The application period is noon Nov. 23 through noon Dec. 4. Grants will be awarded to qualifying applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are exhausted.

“The Revive Plus program is much needed in our small business economy,” Senate General Fund Chairman Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) said. “I commend Governor Ivey for taking this action, recapturing unspent dollars and using a proven program to bring economic relief to our small business owners.”

Alabama received approximately $1.9 billion of CARES Act funding to respond to and mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. Alabama Act 2020-199 initially designated up to $300 million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund for individuals, businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. After the initial $100 million for small business that was reimbursed starting in July 2020, legislative leadership approved a second round of $200 million from allocations made to reimburse state government and from other grant programs that have ended with the full allocation unspent.

The Bell Still Rings for Madison Station Polar Express Christmas on Main

MADISON — Yes, the bell still rings for any organization wanting to decorate a Christmas tree for the seventh annual Madison Station Polar Express Christmas on Main, but Friday is the final day to register.

Hosted by the City of Madison and the Madison Station Historic Preservation Society, the event kicks off the holiday season with decorated Christmas trees displayed along Main Street in historic downtown and sponsored by the Madison business community.

Part of the Polar Express Christmas on Main, the trees will be on display Nov. 28-Jan. 2. Trees will be selected for the Mayor’s Choice, Most Creative and Honorable Mention awards to be announced at the Jan. 11 City Council meeting.

Trees are $100 for for-profit organizations and $50 for nonprofit organizations and can be decorated Nov. 20-27.

An official tree lighting will take place virtually Nov.29.

The number of Christmas trees available is limited so register by Friday to ensure your company is part of this annual holiday celebration.

For more information, contact the Madison Chamber of Commerce at 256-325-8317.

NHBA Taking Care of Business on Huntsville’s North Side

North Huntsville is open for business.

And the North Huntsville Business Association has opened an office and business center to help entrepreneurs and small business owners find success.

The NHBA Wall of Fame recognizes supporters of North Huntsville businesses.

The new office is at 2007 North Memorial Parkway, adjacent to HC Blake in the remodeled shopping center at the intersection with Oakwood Avenue. Among those joining NHBA President Reggie McKenzie and other officers at the office’s “soft opening” Thursday were State Rep. Laura Hall, City Councilman Devyn Keith and Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce Vice President Small Business & Events Pammie Jimmar.

“It’s important we not only identify businesses we can help, but it’s also about redevelopment and what businesses’ needs are,” said NHBA Executive Director Judy Hardin. With some 30 years of experience working with small businesses, Hardin recently retired from Raytheon as manager of Small Business Partnering. “We are here to support them, finding the means for them and collaborating.

“As businesses grow, the community will grow.”

One of the means is a Google Fiber-supported Promote the Parkway Initiative. The program aims to assist the city in attracting business along the North Memorial Parkway corridor. It includes one year of free rent to a start-up small business in North Huntsville.

Keith, who is opening the North Side Dark coffee shop in the shopping center, has been working to get needed help – financial and advisory – for the North Memorial Parkway corridor.

“This is the first example of seed money from the city,” he said. “We have to keep the public and private partnerships.

“You can’t get the location and right of way the way North Huntsville has it.”

Hall, whose district includes North Huntsville, said the redevelopment of the area is vital and that inclusion is a primary aspect of the redevelopment.

“We want to see that the inclusion is a reality,” she said. “The importance of inclusion and diversity is a benefit to all.”

Jimmar echoed Hall’s remarks on diversity and inclusion … and added another aspect.

“As a Chamber, we’re here for you,” she said. “It’s about diversity, inclusion and equity.”

Keith credited NHBA President Reggie McKenzie with being instrumental in promoting North Memorial Parkway and the need for redevelopment and opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The NHBA also unveiled its Wall of Fame recognizing Google Fiber, Redstone Federal Credit Union and the City of Huntsville as keep supporters and Walk of Fame Stars honoring Keith and former District 1 City Councilman Richard Showers Sr. for their work for North Huntsville.

“This has been a real inspiration for the community to see there is an opportunity for entrepreneurs,” said NHBA Vice President Alex Adams. “This is a star for Huntsville, particularly the north side of town.”

For more information on the North Huntsville Business Association and the Promote the Parkway Initiative, visit http://northhuntsvillebusiness.com/

City Opens Haysland Road from Grissom High School to Redstone Road

Things are moving along in South Huntsville and they will be moving along a lot easier now.

On Tuesday, “Phase II” of Haysland Road through the Hays Farm development was opened from Grissom High School to Redstone Road.

Mayor Tommy Battle, City Council President Jennie Robinson, and Director of Engineering Kathy Martin cut the ribbon for the two-mile roadway.

The two-mile roadway includes a 12-foot-wide multiuse path through approximately 250 acres of preserved open space. (Photos/Steve Babin)

Haysland Road provides a parallel road in the city’s growing southern corridor to ease congestion on Memorial Parkway as well as provide direct access to Grissom High School and Redstone Arsenal.

The $8 million project includes a 12-foot-wide multiuse path through approximately 250 acres of preserved open space.

The Hays Farm development will include single-family homes, apartments and townhouses to complement retail businesses and a nine-acre city park.

Huntsville Companies Among Fortune Best Small & Medium Workplaces

Playing on a national stage, three Huntsville-based business have landed on Fortune’s Top 100 Best Small & Medium Workplaces 2020 in the country.

All three companies – Intuitive Research and Technology Corp., PeopleTec and Canvas – were recognized by Fortune magazine as top performing companies. To be eligible for the ranking, they must also be Great Places to Work-Certified companies, meaning at least 70 percent of the companies’ employees report a consistently positive experience working at their company.

Earning a spot of the list is based on confidential survey feedback representing more than 189,000 employees working at small- and medium-sized businesses throughout the United States.

Intuitive, an aerospace engineering and analysis firm in Cummings Research Park, is ranked the highest on the list at No. 5. Ninety-eight percent of Intuitive’s employees say it is a great place to work, compared to 59 percent of employees at a typical U.S.-based company.

“It is a true testament to the Intuitive culture and our employees that we have been honored as Best Workplace in the Nation nine years in a row, all nine years in the top five,” said Intuitive President Vergenia Shelton. “Receiving this honor reflects what is most important to Intuitive … Our employees are the driving force to our success, which is why we invest so heavily in our people. It has always been our priority to provide a workplace where employees are proud of where they work and excited about what they do.”

Also in Cummings Research Park, PeopleTec. is ranked No. 9. The employee-owned small business got its start in Huntsville in 2005 to help provide and retain a highly skilled workforce throughout the area. The No. 9 ranking came with a 98 percent employee satisfaction rate.

“Our unique culture and our commitment to the Warfighter creates a second home for our employee-owners, where trust is high, and everyone feels welcome,” PeopleTec CEO Terry Jennings said.

Coming in at No. 35, Canvas provides services and technical solutions for federal and commercial customers. The company finished with the highest positive employee rating from among the three at 99 percent.

“Canvas is proud to be recognized by our employees for creating one of the best small business workplaces,” said CEO Jami Peyton. “Our high-trust culture has not only helped us navigate a challenging 2020, but also continued to propel Canvas forward in the best way possible. We simply couldn’t be a Best Small Workplace or Great Place to Work without our incredible employees.”

Great Place to Work is a global people analytics and company culture research firm. Certification is based on responses to employee questionnaires based on the extent to which employees trust leaders; the respect with which people are treated; the fairness of workplace decisions; and how much camaraderie there is among the team.

A Virtual Celebration honors Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Best in Business

MADISON – Virtuous Realty Group was the “virtual” winner for the Madison Start-Up Business of the Year in the annual Madison Chamber of Commerce 2020 Best in Business Awards.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the winners were announced virtually Tuesday afternoon in 13 categories. The winners will be honored  at a dinner Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at Tom Brown’s restaurant in the Target Shopping Center. It will include the winners and Chamber representatives in a small masked and socially distanced event.

Conditioned Air Solutions was named Best Business of the Year and U-Lock-It Storage won the Small Business of the Year category.

Cathy Miller from United Way won Community Servant of the Year; Alice Lessmann from Signalink received the Excellence in Leadership & Service Award and Carlos Mendoza of Edward Jones was the Ambassador of the Year Award winner.

Among the Small Business Awards, Anglin Reichmann Armstrong was recognized as Professional Service Business of the Year and Madison Visionary Partners won Best Non-Profit of the Year.

Fit4Mom-Madison was named Health & Wellness Business of the Year; Hawthorne at the Ridge was the  Essential Services Business of the Year; and Insanity Complex won Culinary Business of the Year.

Huntsville Ballet danced off with the Arts, Entertainment & Hospitality Business of the Year; and Thrive Alabama won Medical Practice of the Year.

 

Cepeda, Lewis win Russell G. Brown Executive Leadership Award

Sandra Cepeda was a double-winner at the 35th annual Huntsville/Madison County Chamber Small Business Awards.

Actually, she was a double co-winner.

Cepeda and Kimberly Lewis were named the winners of the top honor – the Russell G. Brown Executive Leadership Award. Cepeda heads Cepeda Systems & Software Analysis and Lewis is the CEO of ProjectXYZ.

Cepeda’s company was named a co-winner with Sentar for Government Contracting – Professional Services Business of the Year.

The annual celebration was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are so proud of all of our small businesses,” said Pammie Jimmar, the Chamber’s Vice President of Small Business & Events. “It has been a very tough year for so many of them, and we hope this event  gives them a boost to let them know we love and support them, and we value what they bring to our  community.”

Below are the categories and the winners.

  • Young Professional of the Year: Bekah Schmidt, South Huntsville Main Business Association
  • Nonprofit of the Year: Huntsville Ballet
  • Professional Services Business of the Year: New Beginnings Family Law, P.C.
  • Culinary Business of the Year: Mango’s Caribbean Cookhouse
  • Emerging Business of the Year: MaDonni Beauty
  • Government Contracting – Professional Services Business of the Year: TIE – Cepeda Systems & Software Analysis and Sentar, Inc.
  • Government Contracting – Technology Business of the Year: Signalink, Inc.
  • Technology Business of the Year: SimTech
  • Service Business of the Year: 47E
  • Retailer of the Year: Redline Steel
  • Local “Creative” of the Year: Party Life, LLC
  • Medical Practice of the Year: Focus Physiotherapy Huntsville
  • Woman-Owned Business of the Year: Troy 7
  • Russell G. Brown Executive Leadership Award: TIESandra Cepeda, Cepeda Systems & Software Analysis and Kimberly Lewis, PROJECTXYZ, Inc.
  • People’s Choice Award: Active8 Communications

This year’s judging was completed by chambers from various locations around the United States,  including the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce; Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber  of Commerce; Terrell, Texas, Chamber of Commerce & Convention & Visitors Bureau; and the  Community Development Foundation – Chamber of Commerce in Tupelo, Miss.

 

MartinFederal Wins Contract from Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

MartinFederal Consulting has been awarded a one-year contract to support the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency.

Huntsville-based MartinFederal is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business focused on providing solutions-based services to the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Justice, and other federal agencies,

The DPAA mission is to recover and identify Department of Defense personnel from past conflicts. As part of the first phase of this multi-phase project, the MartinFederal team will conduct a page-by-page inventory of the Korean War Reference Documents at DPAA Headquarters.

“As an SDVOSB, we understand the importance of the DPAA’s mission, and hope that our support in this project will aid in the accounting effort of the more than 7,600 servicemen who remain unaccounted for from the Korean War,” said Corey Martin, founder and CEO of MartinFederal. “We stand ready to lend our inventory and records management capabilities for this and future phases of this accounting effort.”

Ad4! Group Adds Business Development to its Services

Ad4! Group has added business development to its line of services.

The full-service advertising and marketing agency specializes in branding, marketing strategies, digital marketing campaigns, while serving the Madison County area for 15 years.

Owner Felica Sparks said she is excited about this new addition of business development to their extensive list of services through a partnership with James Bishop of Business Acceleration.

“His ability to pore through businesses’ processes, then offer customized solutions that streamlines what they do, and helps them yield higher returns, is simply invaluable,” Sparks said.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Ad4! Group team,” said Bishop. “Their smart and strategic marketing fits incredibly well with what I bring to the table for business owners, so we make a great team. With this partnership, I think clients will see that working with Ad4! Group just make sense because we are the whole package.”

For information, visit https://ad4group.com/business-consulting-services/.

Survey: 9 in 10 Support Another COVID Relief Bill to Help Distressed Businesses

Americans are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on all aspects of the economy. A new survey shows some 90 percent support Congress passing another economic stimulus bill to help distressed small businesses and employees.

The survey of 1,994registered voters was conducted Oct. 7-9 by Morning Consult and commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. It showed 89 percent agree that Congress should remain in session until reaching an agreement on an economic stimulus package. The survey has a margin of error of plus- or minus-2 percentage points.

“Millions of Americans are out of work, and thousands of small businesses are dying,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “It is well past time for our leaders in Washington to pass a stimulus bill to help these employees and businesses in the hardest-hit industries, including and especially, ours.

“It is unacceptable for Congress to adjourn without passing a bill.”

There is widespread concern about the effects of COVID-19 on all elements of the economy, including small businesses (93 percent very/somewhat concerned), unemployment rates (90 percent), and Americans’ own personal/family financial situation (75 percent). As Congress considers how to respond to the ongoing pandemic, voters agree on the importance of helping families (74 percent very important) and small businesses (68 percent) that are struggling.

Key findings of the survey include the following:

  • Travel and tourism most affected industry: Voters believe the travel and tourism industry was the most affected by the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 (50 percent selected travel and tourism as a top two most affected industry). Other highly affected industries include food and beverage (34 percent selected), education (26 percent), retail (19 percent), and health care (18 percent).
  • Strong support for a stimulus bill: Nine in 10 voters (90 percent) support Congress passing an economic stimulus bill to provide aid to small businesses and protect jobs that have been impacted by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ninety-two percent of Democrats, 87 percent of independents, and 89 percent of Republicans support another economic stimulus bill.
  • No recess without relief: Nearly nine in 10 voters (89 percent) agree that Congress should remain in session until reaching an agreement on an economic stimulus package. Agreement is high among Republicans (88 percent agree), Democrats (91 percent agree), and independents alike (86 percent agree).
  • COVID>SCOTUS: 48 percent of voters say the COVID-19 pandemic is the most important issue for Congress to focus on right now, while 23 percent say the economy and jobs should be the priority. Just 5 percent name the Supreme Court vacancy as the top priority.

Survey Methodology

This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA. The survey was conducted Oct. 7-9, 2020 among a national sample of 1,994 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results have a margin of error of plus- or minus-2 percentage points.