The first round of applications for the state’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program is officially open.
On Nov. 30, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the State Legislature announced the allocation of $500 million available to small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program is administered by the state’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, which is part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.
“Small business owners and our nonprofits serve as the economic heart of every California community,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “This grant program isn’t the end, it’s the beginning. It’s a bridge to help the millions of Californians, whose dreams and livelihoods are now on the line, as we work with the State Legislature to create additional support.”
The grants will not be issued on a first-come, first-served basis and will be awarded after the close of each application round. The first round of applications ends at 11:59 p.m. Friday. Details on the second round of applications will be announced at a later date, officials said.
“Inclusive, equitable relief is fundamental to the small business support developed by this administration,” CalOSBA Director Isabel Guzman said in a statement. “This grant program provides that support through a network of Community Development Financial Institutions and Community Based Organizations ensuring reach to those highly impacted small businesses in disadvantaged communities, underserved small business groups, and industries disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.”
The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Lendistry has been designated by the State to act as the intermediary for the program to disburse the grant funds.
“As an organization dedicated to efficiently providing capital to underserved small businesses, and with a deeply experienced senior management team that mirrors the diversity of our home state of California, Lendistry is proud to partner with the CalOSBA in this bold and critical effort,” Everett K. Sands, Lendistry’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic Lendistry has assisted 20,000 small businesses in a dozen states and deployed nearly a half-billion dollars in capital, and we are bringing the full force of our technology, expertise and relationships with partner CDFIs and community organizations to bear on CalOSBA’s landmark commitment to California’s small businesses.”
The program will prioritize distribution based on priority key factors, including: geographic distribution based on COVID-19 health and safety restrictions following the state’s Safer Economy plan, county status and the regional stay-at-home order; industry sectors most impacted by the pandemic; and underserved small business groups served by the state supported network of small business centers, such as businesses majority owned and run on a daily basis by women, minorities/persons of color, veterans and businesses located in low-to-moderate income and rural communities.
Mission-based lenders and small business advisory and technical assistance providers can help small businesses with the application process in multiple languages and formats. Many of the state supported small business centers, which prioritize the expansion of technical assistance to underserved business groups, are also available to help.
For more information on grant requirements and eligibility, please visit careliefgrant.com.