The last and final sixth round to apply for a grant through the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program begins Wednesday, April 28 through Tuesday, May 4. Through the program, eligible small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for relief grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. The grant award, that does not need to be repaid, can help many businesses that have struggled due to the pandemic. Lendistry has been designated by the State of California to act as the intermediary for the program to disburse the grant funds. New applicants can apply at careliefgrant.com. Applicants that have already submitted a complete application during a previous application window, and that have been waitlisted, do not need to re-apply. Their application will be rolled over.
To be eligible for the grant, a small business or nonprofit needs to meet the following conditions:
- Meet the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) definition of an eligible small business. This includes sole proprietors, independent contractors, 1099 workers and/or registered “for profit“ business entities, or nonprofit entity that have a yearly gross revenue of $2.5 million or less based on the most recently filed tax return or Form 990.
- Must be active and operating since at least June 1, 2019.
- Must have a physical address and operate in California.
- Must be currently operating or have a clear plan to reopen once the State of California permits reopening.
- Must be impacted by COVID-19 and the health and safety restrictions such as business interruptions or business closures incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applicants will need to supply their 2019 tax return or Form 990s and provide documentation that they are a legally registered business. Business documents may include a copy of official filing with the California Secretary of State, Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Organization, Fictitious Business Name Registration, or government-issued Business License. In addition, the application requires a signed application certification and government-issued photo ID. A step by step walkthrough of the application process is provided on Lendistry’s website and their call center is available to provide assistance Monday through Friday 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM PST at 888-612-4370.
Grant amounts are based on the business’s gross annual revenue documented on their 2019 tax return. Businesses that took in annual gross revenue of at least $1,000 up to $100,000 are eligible for a $5,000 grant; annual gross revenue greater than $100,000 up to $1,000,000 is eligible for a $15,000 grant; and for businesses with annual gross revenue greater than $1,000,000 up to $2,500,000, the grant amount available is $25,000.
Grants are not issued on a first come, first served basis. Instead they are granted according to the businesses impacted the most by the pandemic. This includes businesses in geographic areas highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; those in industries that are highly impacted by the pandemic; nonprofits if they provide mission services most impacted by the pandemic; and underserved business groups such as businesses that are women-owned, minority, or person of color-owned, and veteran owned businesses.
The grant funds may be used for the following:
- To cover all employee expenses, including payroll costs, health care benefits, paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums;
- For working capital and overhead, including rent, utilities, mortgage principal and interest payments (excluding mortgage prepayments), and debt obligations (including principal and interest) incurred before March 1, 2020;
- Costs associated with reopening business operations after being fully or partially closed due to state-mandated COVID-19 health and safety restrictions and business closures;
- Costs associated with complying with COVID-19 federal, state, or local guidelines for reopening with required safety protocols, including but not limited to equipment, PPE supplies, testing, and employee training expenses;
- Any other COVID-19 related expenses not already covered through grants, forgivable loans, or other relief through federal, state, county or city programs;
- Any other COVID-19 related costs that are not one of the ineligible uses of funds.
The award is not a loan and is not required to be repaid. However, if the recipient fails to comply with the terms of the grant, the State of California can seek all available remedies against the applicant.
Beware of Scammers
Fraudsters have set up websites and commonly solicit small businesses and nonprofits with offers to complete the grant process, often for a fee. Please note that Lendistry is the only approved entity in CA to distribute the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. Their website careliefgrant.com and other websites available on or through that site are the only approved websites designated for the administration of the grant program. There is no charge or fees to apply for a relief grant under the program.
Be very careful providing information to any third party you have not vetted and verified. Never click on links or reply to emails or text messages from unknown solicitors. Scammers use spoofed emails, texts, social media posts, private messages, and bogus phone calls to trick others into paying them or providing sensitive personal information. Share the information with staff and other business persons so they can avoid scams. Let us know if you’ve been scammed by filing a complaint with Business Consumer Alliance. Also report the matter to local law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission, and the CA Attorney General.
Business owners can visit sba.gov/coronavirus for more COVID-19 relief options. Follow BCA on Facebook for more tips, scam alerts, and more and share the information.