City Announces $4 Million Available in Another Round of Small Business Relief Grants -

City Announces $4 Million Available in Another Round of Small Business Relief Grants -

City Announces $4 Million Available in Another Round of Small Business Relief Grants -

Posted: 09 Nov 2020 09:31 AM PST

by Carolyn Bick

Starting at noon today, the City of Seattle will accept a new round of applicants for small business stabilization grants, meant to assist small Seattle businesses and economic opportunity nonprofits that have suffered financially as a consequence of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

As it did in the spring, the fund — called the Small Business Stabilization Fund, operated through the City's Office of Economic Development (OED) — will distribute $4 million in total in the form of $10,000 grants to eligible applicants. The fund's webpage states that it received more than 9,000 applications in the spring, but that "[b]ecause the need exceeded the available resources, the application process was not re-opened — instead, grantees for the second and third round were chosen by lottery from the original pool of eligible applicants."

This round of applications opens at 12 p.m. today, Nov. 9, and closes on Nov. 30. In order to be considered for a grant, small businesses must meet several eligibility criteria, including having 25 or fewer employees, making $2 million or less in annual net revenue, and having no more than two locations. They must also have been in business for at least 12 months, and may not have received a stabilization grant earlier this year. Nonprofits must meet a few additional criteria, including the stipulation that they provide economic opportunity through education or job training.

The newest round of grants is funded by a joint COVID-19 relief bill originally written by Seattle City Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda that the Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan passed in August. However, not all the grants will be distributed this year. The OED said that there is enough funding for $2.37 million in grants in 2020 and another $1.6 million in grants in 2021.

The City will also be committing $1.25 million in 2021 to working with community organizations to guide grant prioritization for vulnerable or underserved community businesses. The press release did not state which community organizations these might be, nor how they will be chosen. The Emerald has reached out to the OED to ask about this.

The OED will be hosting two webinars to help small businesses prepare to apply. The first webinar will take place on Nov. 12 from 12–1 p.m. and the second webinar will take place on Nov. 18 from 12–1 p.m. OED staff will be available to provide language assistance, but it is unclear whether business owners who need language assistance will need to specifically request it. The Emerald has asked about this.

In the first round, the fund was able to provide 469 small businesses with grants. According to the dashboard on the OED's Small Business Stabilization Fund webpage, 32% of grantees identified as Asian, 31% identified as white, and 21% identified as Black. A further 6% identified as Hispanic or Latinx, 5% identified as other, 4% identified as mixed race, and 1% identified as Indigenous. The dashboard also shows a fairly even split between man-owned and woman-owned businesses. A large percentage of last round's grantees appear to be located in City Council Districts 7 and 2.

Carolyn Bick is a journalist and photographer based in South Seattle. You may reach them here and here.

Featured image from Picpedia under Creative Commons license.

MA to Provide Small Business Grants to COVID-19 Distressed Businesses - The National Law Review

Posted: 23 Oct 2020 12:00 AM PDT

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made $50.8M in grants available for small businesses, businesses that employed more than 1.5M workers, accounting for more than 45% of the total workforce in Massachusetts. These funds were appropriated in the Governor's supplemental budget package as well as remaining CARES Act money. These small business grants will provide up to $75,000 for those small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The small business grant funds can be used for employee payroll and benefit costs, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and interest on other debt obligations. Applications for small business grant funding are now being accepted and close on November 12, 2020.

Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Mike Kennealy, stated that these grant funds are intended for the state's "most vulnerable" small businesses "that have nowhere else to turn." These are small businesses that may not have been able to take advantage of the federal PPP program, a capital loan program that operated in a way that often benefited larger, more established businesses with stronger banking relationships. In contrast, the Massachusetts small business grant program provides grants, not loans and is administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, a public corporation housed within the Executive office of Housing and Economic Development.

Massachusetts' small business grant program is only available to certain small businesses, including those that are no longer operating due to COVID-19 but intend to reopen. Preference will be given to small businesses whose owners are women, minorities, veterans, members of other undefined "underrepresented groups", who are focused on serving the Gateway Cities of Massachusetts. Preference will also be given to those small businesses with the "greatest need" who have been most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and which have not been able to receive aid from other federal programs.

The program does not define how "greatest need" will be determined, suggesting that small businesses that apply for the grant funds may encounter some confusion on this point. Secretary Kennealy commented that unlike a $20M grant program initiated in March which was dispensed on a first-come, first-serve basis, this round of grant funding will be needs-based and focus on specific criteria addressing those small businesses "hit particularly hard". The Secretary further commented that the GCC will focus on those industries and communities most impacted and might include those businesses that have not yet had a chance to reopen.

Funding is provided through two programs based on the size of the business, one for small businesses with 5 or fewer employees providing grants up to $25,000, and another for small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees providing grants up to $75,000. Businesses who seek funding must show documented losses of income. Businesses must have opened prior to June 30, 2019 and have a physical establishment in Massachusetts. Businesses must be in good standing in Massachusetts, current on all taxes due through March 1, 2020, with valid licenses or registrations and not a party to any lawsuit involving the Commonwealth or the municipality in which it operates.

Ineligible businesses include chain businesses, real estate rentals/sales businesses, liquor stores, cannabis-related businesses, firearms dealers, lobbyists and businesses owned by minors.

After the 3-week application period closes, Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation will review all applications to determine eligibility. MGCC will award and disburse grants based upon eligibility criteria and preference prioritization.

©2020 CMBG3 Law, LLC. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 297


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