7 Grants Helping Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus - WWD

7 Grants Helping Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus - WWD

7 Grants Helping Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus - WWD

Posted: 31 Mar 2020 01:48 PM PDT

The coronavirus pandemic's impact on the fashion, beauty and retail industries is staggering, as major retailers have shuttered their doors, halted production and even furloughed most of their employees in response to the virus.

While major companies are experiencing setbacks, small businesses across the country and the globe are feeling the brunt of the losses with many independent fashion labels ceasing operations, streamlining their collections and making other changes in anticipation for an uncertain future post-COVID-19.

Several major companies and cities across the country have responded to the challenges facing small businesses amid the pandemic by creating grants to keep them afloat, including the likes of Facebook, Google and the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

The $2 trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package signed by President Donald Trump last week also offers respite to small business owners, with a $350 billion federal small business loan program.

Here, WWD lists seven grants for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Amazon has created a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to offer cash grants to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue in the Seattle area, including in the South Lake Union, Bellevue and Regrade neighborhoods.

The grant is meant for small businesses, which rely on foot traffic, to pay their employees, rent and other fixed costs.

Applications can be submitted at smallbusinessrelieffund.com and will be reviewed by a third party.

Council of Fashion Designers of America

The Council of Fashion Designers of America is repurposing its CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and renaming the initiative, A Common Thread. The new grant program will benefit fashion designers impacted by the pandemic.

Details of the grant program are still being finalized, with more information slated to be released on April 8 when designers can begin submitting applications. Applicants can be designers and brands across the industry and do not have to be CFDA members.

The application process consists of designers and brands submitting videos that show their fashion stories, including how they've been impacted by the virus.

COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund

San Francisco has created the COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund for businesses impacted by the pandemic. The fund grants up to $10,000 to businesses to pay their employees and rent.

To be eligible for the fund, businesses must have between one and five employees and show a loss of revenue of 25 percent because of the pandemic. Businesses must also have gross receipts less than $2.5 million and participate in activities regulated by the city.

Businesses can apply for the fund on San Francisco's Office of Economic and Workforce Development web site.


Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg announced on March 17 that the company is creating a $100 million grant program for small businesses experiencing financial hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants will go to about 30,000 businesses across the 30 countries where Facebook has employees. Part of the grants will be "ad credits" that businesses can use to advertise on the social media platform.

Facebook will begin accepting applications for the grants in the next few weeks.


Google is offering $800 million in grants to support small and medium-sized businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the $800 million, $340 million will be given in ad grants to these businesses with active accounts. The ad grants can be used until the end of the year across the company's advertising platforms. A $200 million grant will also be given to financial institutions and non-profit organizations that help provide small businesses with capital.

The company is also offering $250 million in ad grants to the World Health Organization and over 100 government agencies worldwide that are providing information to stop the spread of COVID-19.

New York City Employee Retention Grant Program

New York City launched the Employee Retention Grant Program in response to the growing number of businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The program is available for New York City businesses with between one to four employees that can demonstrate a loss of 25 percent in revenue as a result of the pandemic. Eligible businesses will receive a grant covering up to 40 percent of their payroll for two months and can access up to $27,000.

Small businesses can apply for the program at the nyc.gov web site.

Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. government's $2 trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package signed last week includes a $350 billion federal small business loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program.

The program is meant to incentivize small businesses to keep their employees on payroll by providing up to $10 million in loans to pay salaries, rent and other fixed costs. The program's parameters show that businesses that keep their employees on payroll for eight weeks will be eligible for partial or total loan forgiveness.

Small businesses eligible for the program are those with fewer than 500 employees.

Details on applying for the program are expected to be posted on the Small Business Administration's web site in the next few days.

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Here's how to apply for Maryland COVID-19 grant and loan funds for small businesses - Technical.ly

Posted: 01 Apr 2020 03:19 AM PDT

The COVID-19 pandemic had a quick and in some cases devastating economic effect as officials put social distancing measures in place to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. In response, public officials stood up big, new programs to provide assistance for small businesses quickly last week.

On Monday, Gov. Larry Hogan announced a $175 million emergency funding program to provide funds. By Friday afternoon in D.C., Pres. Donald Trump signed the CARES Act into law, which counts small businesses among the many sectors of the economy that it aims to help in a time when many have been forced to lay off workers or closed. (Watch this explainer of how the relief bill can benefit startups.)

As officials look to keep moving to start getting funds dispersed, the scope of the programs are coming into relief.

"This is the largest single relief package ever passed by the Congress of the United States," U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) said of the CARES Act on a webinar Tuesday.

At the event organized by the Baltimore Development Corporation and M&T Bank, Cardin joined officials including Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz and Stephen Umberger, the director of the U.S. Small Business Administration's Baltimore office, to outline the programs that are available.

Here's a breakdown of what's available for Maryland small businesses now. We'll update as we get more info:

Paycheck Protection Program

The CARES Act includes $350 billion for this loan program that's designed to encourage companies to keep folks on payroll. The key incentive? If a team stays together, the loan is forgiven. Administered by community banks and financial institutions, the loans can be used for payroll costs, rent and utilities. Businesses can borrow up to 2.5 times of those expenses for the loan period. Apply here and consult local banks for lending.


Employee Retention Credit

The CARES Act also includes a 50% tax credit for businesses that were impact by COVID-19 for wages of employees up to $10,000. The credit is available to all employers, regardless of their business side, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

Maryland was approved as a state where companies can apply for loans through this U.S. Small Business Administration program. The loan is available for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, as well as sole proprietorships, independent contractors and cooperatives and private nonprofits.

It's designed to provide working capital, and up to half of a prior year's gross profit is offered. Approvals can now be made solely based on an applicant's credit score. Loans that are smaller than $200,000 can also be approved without a personal guarantee.

With passage of the CARES Act, the SBA is also now offering applicants a $10,000 emergency grant, which functions as an advance on the loan. It will be approved within three days of an application, and does not have to be paid back if the loan is denied. Apply here.

Of note: Umberger said businesses could be able to qualify for both the EIDL and Paycheck Protection Program. But as the Paycheck Protection Program is rolling out, he encouraged business owners to move forward with an EIDL application right away.

He also added that initial bugs with the SBA website have been fixed, and the applications have been streamlined.

Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund

The $75 million loan program offered through the Maryland Department of Commerce offers loans of up to $50,000 for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The loan offers deferral of payments and no interest for the first 12 months, then converts to a 36-month term. Apply here.

Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund

This $50 million grant program offered through the Maryland Department of Commerce. Grants of up to $10,000 are being offered to provide working capital for small businesses and nonprofits. It is meant to complement actions taken with banks, insurance and other financial partners. Apply here.

Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund

The $5 million incentive program is offering grants of up to $100,000 for businesses that make personal protective equipment or other items identified as critical needs for healthcare providers and first responders during the pandemic, such as hand sanitizer, ventilators, Tyvek suits and more. The grants are designed to increase existing operations, or pivot operations. Apply here.

The state also created a COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund through the Maryland Department of Labor, but it was no longer accepting applications as of March 31.


N.J. is giving out $5M in small business grants during coronavirus crisis. Here’s how to apply. - NJ.com

Posted: 31 Mar 2020 03:28 PM PDT

New Jersey's smallest businesses feeling the economic pain of the coronavirus can begin applying on Friday for small grants offered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The EDA last week approved about $40 million in grants, loans and loan guarantees to small and mid-size New Jersey businesses, many of which have been ordered to close or drastically scale back their operations as part of the state's effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Tim Sullivan, who heads the authority, has said while this initial aid will just scratch the surface of the need created by the economic crisis, the EDA tried to create easily accessible programs that can readily be expanded if more funding opens up.

The $5 million in small business grants will open for applications at 9 a.m. this Friday. Other programs will roll out in the coming weeks, the EDA said.

The smallest businesses, those 10 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, can receive grants between $1,000 and $5,000. These grants specifically target companies in retail, personal-care, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, food service, laundry and repair services.

In order to receive money, businesses will have to attest that they need this money to tide them over and won't cut any employees or will make every effort to rehire laid off or furloughed staff.

The Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program is capped at $5 million, which will support between 1,250 and 2,000 grants, though officials said they expect demand will be much higher.

Of the $5 million, $3 million is set aside for businesses with three full-time equivalent employees or fewer. Home-based businesses are not eligible.

EDA officials said the grants are intended to help small businesses keep their employees on the payroll.

More than 155,000 people filed unemployment claims in New Jersey in the week that ended March 21, according to new data from the state Department of Labor and Workforce development.

Businesses can apply online.

All the information on the EDA's coronavirus efforts can be found here.

A copy of the application can be found here.

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Samantha Marcus may be reached at smarcus@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter@samanthamarcus. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.

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City makes $3.1 million in grants available for Detroit small businesses hurt by coronavirus outbreak - Crain's Detroit Business

Posted: 31 Mar 2020 11:15 AM PDT

Detroit's economic development agency has put together a $3.1 million package of grants for small businesses struggling due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. launched an application period for business grants of up to $10,000 Wednesday. DEGC President and CEO Kevin Johnson detailed the effort to City Council Tuesday morning and at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

"It is one of the most powerful programs I've ever seen to help small businesses," Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Tuesday during an update on city response to the pandemic. "We've got a lot of small businesses in this town that when we come out of this pandemic, if we're going to be a vibrant city, we've gotta save them ... Through no fault of their own, they've still got rent bills, they've still got utility bills ... they could go under."

Businesses can apply starting Wednesday through one process. But the money they get could come out of one of several pots, which break down as follows:

  • $2.3 million from a years-old casino-financed loan fund
  • $800,000 redirected from entrepreneur grant program Motor City Match
  • A yet-to-be-determined portion of a $1.6 million sum awarded by the state for coronavirus-era business support in Detroit and wider Wayne County

The financing bundle is moving forward after Detroit City Council on Tuesday authorized an amendment to a city agreement that allows the city to rope in dollars from the casino loan fund.

"We hope that this first initial stabilization effort ... does stabilize those that are in the most desperate need for this level of support," Johnson told City Council on Tuesday.

Businesses with 50 employees or fewer and revenues of $1 million or less can apply, according to Johnson. The single application process will score businesses, taking into account how long the business has been in Detroit, percentage revenue lost from COVID-19 impacts on the economy and profitability before the outbreak. Depending on where the business fits, its assistance grant would come out of one of the several pots.

About 800 businesses so far have signed up to receive email updates about the application process, said Pierre Batton, the DEGC's vice president of small business services. He expects more than 2,000 to apply.

Applications and information are available on the DEGC website. The first "batch" of recipients are expected to receive their checks April 10.

The agency plans to host webinar sessions to answer businesses' questions. It will also promote the grants on social media and use dozens of business support organizations, banks and nonprofit to help with disseminating information, Batton said. DEGC could also send mailers and call businesses, but the state's stay-at-home order affects the ability to knock on doors. The application will be available in Spanish, Arabic and Bengali, as well.

The designation of up to $10,000 per business is a "national best practice amount that has come about during the COVID-19 crisis," Batton said, to support payroll, utilities and/or rent for a month or two.

This is a "phase one" response, Batton said — emergency grants for dealing with today's problems. The DEGC also is working with the city of Detroit to put together technical assistance plans so businesses can qualify for forgivable loans through the $2 trillion federal stimulus package and Small Business Administration loans. The DEGC is also looking to identify other sources of funding, Johnson said.

The DEGC and Detroit Economic Development Corp., an agency staffed by the DEGC that assists with loans and other programs, will provide a report on the program's progress in 30 days, according to Johnson.

Other small-business assistance programs have been launched for Detroit and Michigan businesses.

One of the pots available is a portion of the $1.6 million awarded to Detroit and greater Wayne County out of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s $20 million Small Business Relief Program. For that portion, dollars must go to businesses near "high-impact" commercial corridors, Batton said, though the other funding is not bound by location.

The EDC has defined commercial corridor here as "any major street in the city of Detroit." Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López said she was concerned that the limitation could "disadvantage" businesses outside highly trafficked areas.

Another segment of the funding comes out of expired, unused dollars meant for technical assistance as part of matching grant program Motor City Match and the associated Motor City Re-Store, Batton said. To qualify for those dollars, a business must be among the 280 that went through one of the programs and is still open, he said.

The $2.3 million slice of the at least $3.1 million package that City Council approved use of Tuesday comes out of the Casino Development Fund.

It was established with money from Detroit's three casinos — MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown Casino-Hotel and MotorCity Casino Hotel — to boost business development around greater downtown. The EDC has administered programs under the fund since the mid-2000s, and it has about $3.8 million out of a total of $32.5 million left to disperse, according to DEGC CFO Glen Long.

The EDC and city needed City Council approval to amend the Casino Development Fund agreement so they can redirect some of it for COVID-19 business support, according to a letter Katy Trudeau, deputy director of the city Planning and Development Department, wrote to City Council that contains the text of the amendment. These dollars are available to any business in the city that meets the DEGC's requirements on revenue, employment and COVID-19 impact.

The amendment City Council green-lit Tuesday also opens up the remaining $1.5 million in Casino Development Fund money previously designated for greater downtown to businesses across Detroit. Some of that funding was previously "underutilized," according to Trudeau's March 26 letter. It also adds a new program specifically for starting and growing small businesses in commercial corridors and industrial districts.

The Casino Development Fund has been the subject of an audit by Detroit's Office of the Auditor General, which found inadequate internal controls for loan processes and a failure to maintain some documentation sufficiently. Auditor General Mark Lockridge said Tuesday to City Council that the EDC and DEGC have "continuously" addressed audit findings and "ironed out a lot of the issues we had concerning our audit."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to make clear that an amount of at least $3.1 million will be available for Detroit businesses, but that that amount is not yet defined as some funding will go to other businesses in Wayne County. The $3.1 million is designated solely for Detroit businesses.

Google and Facebook will offer small businesses ad credits and grants - Business Insider UK

Posted: 31 Mar 2020 11:29 AM PDT

Both Google and Facebook will offer small businesses who routinely advertise with them, and some news publishers, some relief in the form of ad credits and grants, per company announcements. Google will deposit $340 million worth of account credits — which are valid through 2020 — into small- to medium-sized (SMB) businesses' Google Ads accounts.

Duopoly's share of US digital ad market
Business Insider Intelligence

For its part, Facebook will dole out $100 million in both ad credits and cash grants to support up to 30,000 small businesses across 30 countries. Facebook will separately offer another $100 million in grants and advertising credits to publishers.

Both Facebook and Google earn a lot of revenue from small businesses, and these programs are likely meant to help them strengthen the relationships they've formed:

  • Facebook. When Facebook faced turbulence in the light of Cambridge Analytica, a group that remained consistent with ad buys was small businesses — and in the aftermath, Facebook has rolled out a red carpet in order to double down on the segment. For instance, last May, the social giant created automated ads, appointments, and new video editing tools for small businesses. From 2016 to 2019, Facebook went from having a total of 3 million small businesses advertising on its platform to 90 million, that's a 2,900% increase in just three years. Further, 61% of all small businesses say they commit spend to social media marketing, per Blue Corona. 
  • Google. The search giant has likewise encouraged SMBs to advertise across its platforms: Last June, it rolled out a new website "Google for Small Business," on International Small Business Day where it will help business owners to select the tools that fit for best practices within their industry and for their specific work. Google doesn't release figures for its ad revenue from small businesses, nor has it released a similar number to Facebook's so far as how many SMBs use its ad tools.

The duopoly's efforts to support SMBs that advertise on their platforms could double as effective public relations — and it's possible that we see more large companies take similarly proactive stances. As my colleague, Daniel Carnahan wrote in yesterday's briefing, "While consumers don't want brands to stop advertising amid the pandemic, they do want to see them shift their strategies to take a more proactive role against the spread of the virus." To that end, over three-quarters (77%) of consumers want brands to show how they're helpful in the "new everyday life," per a March Kantar survey.

As it relates to helping out small businesses — which are really feeling the crush of the coronavirus pandemic — there are a number of ways brands can demonstrate that they're helping. For instance, delivery company Postmates implemented a tab dubbed "support local businesses near you," where users can order locally to keep independent restaurants up and running, while New York's famous entertainment magazine "Time Out" has implemented a new logo with "Out" crossed out and replaced with "In" to encourage ordering delivery.

And for their part, Facebook and Google could benefit not only in terms of keeping important ad partners afloat — and relationships with them strong — but from the general perception that initiatives like this are the right thing to do. 

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