Small businesses could be eligible to receive complimentary advertising space during this uncertain time.

The Evening Post Newspaper Group, owner of the Aiken Standard, the North Augusta Star, the Post and Courier and more than seven other media brands across South Carolina, is launching a $1 million matching marketing grant program supporting recovery advertising for eligible small businesses in South Carolina.

Businesses can apply for this matching grant at www.aikenstandard.com/1million.

Within three days, applicants will be notified of their grant status. At that time, Aiken Standard staff will work with the local award recipient to develop a strategy to best use the awarded advertising space in one or all of the Evening Post’s newspapers or news sites.

Grants will be awarded from $500 up to $10,000 per applicant and will be matched dollar for dollar with paid investments. For example, if a small business requests a $500 matching grant, the business would buy $500 in advertising, and the Evening Post would add $500 for free space or online ad impressions.

Grant applications must be submitted by June 30, and awarded advertising space must be used by Aug. 31. Matching ad space does not apply toward current contract commitments and does not carry cash value.

“For 153 years, the Aiken Standard has been an anchor in this community and its recognized source for local news and information,” said Aiken Standard Publisher Rhonda Overbey. “Like our readers, we are dependable. I believe this grant will provide local businesses an easy path to communicate with their customers during this reopening stage. Aiken Standard readers are local, responsive and dedicated to supporting businesses in the CSRA. Subscribers want to hear directly from local businesses.”

P.J. Browning, the president of the Evening Post’s newspaper division said, “Research shows that a consistent marketing and advertising strategy during economic disruptions like COVID-19 allows businesses to not only survive, but thrive. As your organization plans for the coming months, we invite you to apply for our marketing matching grants to extend your marketing reach as broad as possible.”

The $1 million matching grant provides all recipients with the option of advertising locally in the Aiken Standard and the North Augusta Star or expanding their advertising into other markets, including Columbia and Charleston.

​Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.