COVID-19 Small Business Grants
The US federal and state governments have commendably initiated relief programs for businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Several federal and state funding agencies are actively offering grants of various kinds to entrepreneurs and business owners.
Here are the top sources in the US to get COVID-19 small business grants:
Top 5 ways to get COVID-19 Small Business Grants
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several relief packages for small businesses, including:
1 – Paycheck Protection Program (PP) Loan Forgiveness
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness is an SBA-backed aid. This initiative is aimed to forgive the loans of businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
This is a relief package for small and medium-sized businesses meant to assist businesses to cope with the after-effects of the pandemic. Under this, eligible businesses can seek forgiveness of their various PPP loans, including:
First Draw PPP Loan Forgiveness
The First Draw PPP Loan Forgiveness program offers relief from loan repayment to eligible borrowers. This offers full loan forgiveness to employers who have:
- Maintained employee and compensation levels
- Spent loan amount of payroll and other eligible business expenses
- Spent at least 60% of First Draw PPP Loan on employee payroll
Second Draw PPP Loan Forgiveness
The Second Draw PPP Loan Forgiveness program offers relief to borrowers who have:
- Maintained employee and compensation levels as prescribed for First Draw PPP Loan
- Spent loan funds on employee payroll and other eligible business expenses
- Spent at least 60% of the loan amount on payroll costs
As a borrower, you can apply for this loan relief once the entire loan amount has been used. You can apply for forgiveness at any time up to the maturity date of your loan.
If you fail to apply for forgiveness within 10 months from the last day of the covered period, then you are not eligible to receive loan relief.
For additional information on receiving benefits under this program feel free to visit the US SBA official website at https://www.sba.gov/document/support-faq-about-ppp-loan-forgiveness.
2 – Disaster Loan Assistance
The US Small Business Administration also offers Disaster Loan Assistance. This federal program offers loans to businesses, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SBA offers information to make a loan under its Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. This is aimed at qualifying businesses that have been affected by the pandemic.
Make sure to submit every document requested in the application form to ensure you qualify for this relief grant for small businesses.
There are strict eligibility criteria to vet deserving candidates for this loan relief program. Businesses and agricultural enterprises with less than 500 employees qualify for this COVID-19 small business grant.
To know specific eligibility criteria and to learn the application process for the US Disaster Loan Assistance program, you can visit the official website at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/.
Small Business Grants by the US Department of Treasury
The US Department of Treasury’s Assistance for Small Businesses is an initiative to provide relief from the challenges faced by solo and small businesses during the pandemic.
This initiative by the Treasury Department provides crucial assistance to small businesses across the United States.
This program offers urgent capital and supports other organizations to restart their business operations.
Under this initiative, the main relief program of the US Department of Treasury is:
3 – Emergency Capital Investment Program
The Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP) by the US Department of Treasury supports the operations of low and moderate-income financial organizations in a community.
The ECIP offers up to US$ 9 billion in direct capital to depository institutions certified by the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).
This grant is also offered to the certified Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs).
This program offers loans, grants, and forbearance for small and minority-owned businesses in under-served and low-income communities across the US. The department will disburse US$ 2 billion to MDIs and CDFIs that have less than US$ 500 million in assets.
The department also plans to allow an additional US$ 2 billion for MDIs and CDFIs that have less than US$ 2 billion in assets.
For additional details about eligibility criteria and the application process, feel free to visit the official website at https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/coronavirus/assistance-for-small-businesses/emergency-capital-investment-program.
Small Business Grants by the US Department of Commerce – Build-To-Scale Program
The US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) offers the Build To Scale (B2S) program. This program develops regional economies using start-ups through its Capital Challenge and Venture Challenge initiatives.
4 – Capital Challenge
The Capital Challenge (earlier known as “Seed Fund Support”) facilitates access to capital in communities where there is a short supply of risk capital.
This COVID-19 small business grant offers operational assistance for:
- Formation, launch, or scale of investment funds in scalable startups
- Entities looking to expand capital deployment with a specific community or region (such as investor training programs or angel networks)
The Capital Challenge granted up to US$ 6 million in small business grants in FY 2021. For additional information on the application process, feel free to click the link ahead https://eda.gov/oie/buildtoscale/capital/.
5 – Venture Challenge
The Venture Challenge (previously known as the “i6 Challenge) is aimed at supporting entrepreneurs. It helps accelerate the commercial growth of communities and regions.
This program awards grants to accelerators, non-profits, and universities that support new business ventures that:
- Are scalable
- Can challenge the status quo of established markets
- Can commercialize technologies
- Boost job creation within their businesses
The Venture Challenge calls organizations to submit competitive proposals for supporting entrepreneurship.
Organizations that help boost company growth are also welcome to send in their proposals. The Venture Challenge awarded around US$ 30 million in grants to businesses in FY 2021.
For additional information on its application process, you can visit the official website at https://eda.gov/oie/buildtoscale/venture/.
There are numerous types of COVID-19 small business grants offered by several federal departments.
It is essential to know where your particular business models fit for grants and loans. Make sure to check the specific eligibility criteria for any small business grant you may be planning to apply for.