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Grants to help your business during the coronavirus outbreak
Look to your local government and private companies for cash you don't have to repay.
We’ll continue to update this page with resources and information as new details emerge in the world’s response to COVID-19.
Some local governments and private organizations are offering grants to small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. These are often highly local, so most options are only available to a select few businesses.
Grants are also typically smaller than loans, so you might need to combine multiple types of financing to fully cover your overhead.
WATCH: How your business can survive the coronavirus
Federal grants for businesses affected by COVID-19
The federal government launched a few grant programs as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2 trillion stimulus package passed in March 2020.
Targeted EIDL grants
The American Rescue Plan Act issued more funds for the Economic Injury and Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant program, with a few changes. The SBA is now offering targeted advances of $5,000, which will first roll out to businesses with no more than 10 employees that saw a 50% drop in revenue or more since COVID-19.
After two weeks, all businesses with 10 or fewer employees can qualify. And only after another two weeks other businesses can apply. This only applies to small businesses that haven't already received an EIDL loan or grant, however.
You can read more about the EIDL program to see if your business qualifies.
Grants for shuttered venue operators
The second stimulus bill created a new grant program for live venues affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This includes businesses that rely on ticket sales as a main source of revenue, like independently owned theaters, cinemas and museums.
Grant are available for up to $10 million, although your grant will be based on your operating expenses. If your business is earning 10% of a normal year's revenue or less, it receives first priority.
Restaurant Revitalization Grants
The American Rescue Plan Act also established a new grant program for businesses in the food service industry. Grants are based the difference between your 2019 and 2020 revenue — or payroll expenses if your business was established after January 1, 2020.
Businesses that received a shuttered venue operator grants can't qualify for this program. So make sure your business can't benefit more from a venue operator's grant before you apply.
Applications will be available through the SBA website when the program launches. For the first 21 days, these will only be available to food service businesses that are at least 21% owned by women, BIPOC individuals or veterans. After that period, other eligible businesses can apply.
The American Rescue Plan Act relaunched the Small Business Credit Initiative (SBCI), which gives funds to nonprofit lenders like community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority deposit institutions (MDIs) to offer low-cost loans and grants. Another part of the bill also sets aside funding for the farm credit system.
This means that nonprofit lenders might be a great resource for grants after other COVID-19 relief programs expire. You can stay on top of the opportunities available in your area by signing up for updates from a small business center in your area.
The SBA is expanding State Trade Expansion grants from 2018–2019 to continue into the 2020–2021 fiscal year. And businesses that have lost revenue due to canceled trips abroad and trade shows can apply to get reimbursed. The SBA hasn’t issued guidelines on how to apply yet.
Does the Paycheck Protection Program offer grants?
Sort of. The Paycheck Protection Program is technically a loan, but our business can apply for up to 100% forgiveness based on how you spend the funds. If your business uses the loan on an ineligible expense, you have to pay off the pay off the remaining balance at a low 1% interest rate.
Private grants for businesses affected by COVID-19
A few large corporations started to offer grants to businesses that have lost revenue due to the coronavirus outbreak. More may follow suit as the impact on small businesses grows.
The Lendio grant program closed on July 7, 2020.
To support small business owners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, online business loan marketplace Lendio is awarding 23 grants to small businesses that used their service to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
One business will receive a $50,000 grant, two will receive $25,000 grants, five will get $10,000 grants and 10 will be awarded $5,000. Another five small businesses will also receive two months of bookkeeping services through Lendio’s bookkeeping company Sunrise, which Lendio values at $1,000.
Amazon is no longer accepting new applications as of May 26, 2020.
After Amazon asked employees to work from home, it launched a $5 million grant program to help small businesses near its Seattle and Bellevue campuses cope with the loss of business. Grant amounts are based on how much the business is expected to lose in revenue in March 2020.
Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund
Verizon is no longer accepting new applications as of May 26, 2020. You can sign up to receive updates by filling out a form on the LISC website.
Verizon has made a $2.5 million investment in Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to help small businesses remain open during the coronavirus outbreak. Grants of up to $10,000 are available, and LISC encourages business owners of color, female entrepreneurs and others who lack access to flexible capital to apply.
Thryv Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program
Thryv is no longer accepting new applications as of May 26, 2020.
Thryv created a grant program that offers small- to medium-sized businesses grants of at least $2,500. The grant period began on March 30, 2020 and was originally supposed to run until April 30, 2020 — but Thryv stopped accepting applications early due to high demand. It expects to award at least 40 grants, and recipients should be announced on or before May 15.
Arizona Community Foundation
The Arizona Community Foundation is no longer accepting new applications as of June 3, 2020.
The Arizona Community Foundation (ACF) created the Arizona COVID-19 Community Response Fund (CRF) to assist Arizona nonprofits. Grants are split into two types: immediate relief and long-term recovery.
Immediate-relief grants can be used to directly help Arizona residents with basic necessities like housing, utilities, health services and more. It can also be used to cover general operations affected by the outbreak. Every 30 days, nonprofits can reapply for an immediate relief grant, as needed.
Long-term recovery grants are intended to assist with the lasting effects of lost revenue due to COVID-19. Nonprofits can apply for one long-term recovery grant.
CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund
CDFA is no longer accepting applications as of May 26, 2020.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Vogue have announced the launch of a fashion fund to provide grants of up to $100,0000 to businesses in the industry during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The CSFA is no longer accepting applications to its Nonprofit Event Relief Fund as of June 3, 2020. However, you can still apply for funding through its Community Support Fund.
The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) has launched two donation-based grant programs for nonprofits: The CFSA COVID-19 Community Support Fund and Nonprofit Event Relief Fund. The Community Support Fund offers grants from $3,000 to $20,000 to cover general expenses. The Nonprofit Event Fund offers funding from $3,000 to $10,000 to nonprofits that had to cancel fundraisers due to the outbreak.
Facebook is no longer accepting applications as of May 26, 2020.
Facebook launched a $100 million small business grants program offering cash and ad credits for up to 30,000 companies across 30 countries.
GoFundMe matching grant
This crowdfunding platform teamed up with QuickBooks and Yelp to offer $500 grants to small businesses. Grants go to small businesses that have raised that amount through independent crowdfunding campaigns.
HOST – Topeka and Shawnee County Relief Grant
Applications are due by October 15, 2020.
The Greater Topeka Partnership is offering grants to Kansas businesses located in Shawnee County. How much you’re eligible for depends on how many employees you have:
- Sole proprietorships: Up to $1,500
- Businesses with 2 to 5 employees: Up to $3,000
- Businesses with 10 to 100 employees: Up to $5,000
Businesses will receive funds in either May, June, September and November — it all depends on when you applied.
Salesforce Care Small Business Grants
Salesforce is no longer accepting applications as of May 26, 2020.
Salesforce teamed up with Ureeka to offers grants of up to $10,000 to qualifying small businesses. Applications are available in two phases and due dates vary based on where you live.
Beaverton is no longer accepting applications as of April 28, 2020 due to high demand.
Beaverton, Oregon was offering grants through its Emergency Business Assistance program. This grant offered reimbursements for up to 100% of mortgage or rent expenses for small businesses after March 16, 2020 — up to $2,500.
Applications for the Denver Small Business Emergency Relief Fund closed on October 13, 2020.
Denver is offering grants to businesses affected by COVID-19 through the Denver Small Business Emergency Relief Fund. Businesses can get up to $7,500 in free funding to cover operating expenses.
The last round of applications for the Hillsboro Small Business Emergency Relief Program closed on April 7, 2020.
Hillsboro was offering grants of up to $5,000 through the Hillsboro Small Business Emergency Relief Program between March 23 and April 30, 2020.
New York, New York
Applications for the NYC Employee Retention Grant program closed at 5 p.m. on April 3, 2020. It’s unclear if the city has plans to reopen the grant program in the future.
New York City launched an Employee Retention Grant program. This program offered grants to cover up to 40% of payroll costs for two months or up to $27,000 to keep employees on staff.
San Francisco, California
Applications for the San Francisco COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund have closed as of May 26, 2020.
San Francisco has closed its COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund, but it plans on launching a Neighborhood Mini Grant program and a San Francisco Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund.
Neighborhood grants run from $1,000 to $10,000 and will be available to small businesses that serve eligible neighborhoods — like barbershops and flower shops.
Women-owned business grants run up to $2,000.
Applications are closed as of April 28, 2020, but the city is raising money to reopen them in the near future.
The Seattle Office of Economic Development was offering $10,000 grants to small businesses. It offered awards by lottery to 250 small businesses that had submitted applications during the first round.
State grants for businesses affected by the coronavirus
These states have started offering cash injections for small businesses that have been affected. Check with your state’s Chamber of Commerce to learn about other financial assistance programs if you don’t see your state listed here — or just want to know more.
The Colorado COVID Relief Fund is no longer accepting applications as of June 3, 2020.
The Colorado COVID Relief Fund offers community-based small businesses grants of up to $25,000.
There are currently two grant programs available through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
Business Interruption Grants
The Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program will provide at least $540 million in grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The first round of grants will give priority to businesses who have been heavily restricted or completely shut down during the pandemic, such as bars, restaurants, barbershops, salons, gyms and fitness centers.
Priority will also be given to businesses in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) or low-income areas that have seen high rates of COVID-19 cases.
Illinois Downstate Small business Stabilization Program
The Illinois Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program offers small business grants of up to $25,000 to nonessential small businesses through city, village and municipal governments.
These funds are meant to help build the economies of underdeveloped areas and aren’t available to big cities like Chicago.
Applications for the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund closed on April 6, 2020.
Maryland established a $50 million Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund for small businesses and nonprofits affected by the outbreak. You can get funding for up to three months of operating expenses or $10,000 — whichever is less.
Applications for the Michigan Small Business Relief Program are closed as of April 13, 2020.
The State of Michigan is offering grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program
Applications are closed for Wisconsin’s Small Business 20/20 Program as of May 26, 2020.
Wisconsin offers grants of up to $20,000 to cover operating expenses and other costs associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, like paid sick leave. These will be available through CDFIs across the state through the Small Business 20/20 Program.
4 tips for scoring grant funding
Getting a grant for your business means you’ll be facing tough competition. These tips can help your business stand out from the crowd of applicants:
- Apply as soon as you can.Many grant programs have limited funds and can run out as soon as a few hours after they’re launched.
- Check availability.Make sure the program is still accepting applications from businesses like yours before you get started.
- Consider a grant-writing workshop.Make sure your application stands out by signing up for a free workshop with organizations like LearningGrantWriting.org.
- Stay on top of opportunities.Sign up for updates from a local business organization like a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to get alerts on what’s new.
Additional ways to finance your business
Grants aren’t widely available or substantial enough to cover most small business needs during the outbreak. You’ll likely need to combine them with other types of funding. Many businesses are also setting up crowdfunding campaigns to avoid taking on more debt.
After you exhaust no-cost options, look for government resources. Some state and local governments have started offering low- and interest-free loans to combat the coronavirus impact. And the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest loans through its Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and Paycheck Protection Program. The PPP reopened in January of 2021 and is accepting loan applications for First Draw and Second Draw loans through May 31, 2021.
If you need money fast, look into more traditional cashflow solutions like lines of credit and business loans. Talk to your bank, or consider applying online. Online lenders tend to have a faster turnaround and more flexible requirements — though they’re often more expensive. Small businesses and nonprofits in particular might also want to apply for other types of business grants to cover costs.
Free ad credits from Google and Yelp
While these big tech companies aren’t offering grants to businesses affected by the outbreak, you still might be able to qualify for an ad credit. These are designed for small businesses that rely on advertising to bring in customers, and you generally already need to have a relationship with these companies to qualify.
While it may not be as helpful as a direct cash injection, ad credits can he helpful to businesses that are too big to qualify for a grant.
Need funding fast? Apply for an online business loan
Coronavirus business grants aren’t readily available to most small businesses and nonprofits. But they may become more widespread as the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect your bottom line. Reach out to your local Small Business Development Center to stay up to date on the options available to you. And read our guide to the coronavirus outbreak for more resources.
Frequently asked questions
Answers to commonly asked questions about business grants for those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Is the SBA offering grants during the coronavirus outbreak?
No, the SBA isn’t offering grants to small businesses affected by COVID-19. But it’s added more funding to its disaster loan program and offers lower rates to small businesses and nonprofits hit by the outbreak. Read our guide to SBA disaster loans for more details.
How long does it take to get a grant?
That depends on factors like the type of grant you’re applying for, demand and your application. None of the coronavirus grant programs have specified how long it will take for businesses to get funded — these are new, so chances are they don’t know. But most aim to get them to small businesses as soon as possible.
What's the difference between an interest-free loan and a grant?
An interest-free loan is funding you don’t pay interest on, but has to be paid back in installments. Some interest-free loans come with a fee. Grants are funds that you receive and never have to repay.
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