ST. PAUL -- Small businesses throughout Minnesota struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic are now able to apply for grant-funded support.

Governor Tim Walz Tuesday announced the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is now accepting applications for the $62.5 million Small Business Relief Grants Program, signed into law last week.

Businesses with 50 or fewer employees are eligible for grants of up to $10,000. The money will be evenly distributed between businesses in Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro, with at least $10 million to go to minority-owned businesses, $2.5 million to veteran-owned businesses, and $2.5 million to women-owned businesses.

The 10-day application period will close on Thursday, July 2 at 5:00 p.m. A randomized, computer-generated lottery process will be used, in collaboration with the Minnesota Lottery, to select eligible businesses for the awards.

DEED says the funds can be used for payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar business expenses.

The online application and additional information are available on DEED's website.