Starting April 1, a new program administered by the San Benito County and the Economic Development Corporation will be accepting applications for grants of around $2,500 apiece to eligible microbusinesses impacted by COVID-19.
The grant is part of a State of California program that provides $50 million in one-time funding throughout the state. San Benito County will be receiving $80,000 from the fund.
The California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program is open to any for-profit business in San Benito County with gross revenue of $50,000 or less, as reported in 2019.
The state requires applicants to meet the following criteria:
- Self-employed workers, independent contractors, sole proprietors, and corporations with no more than five employees in 2019 and 2020 taxable years
- Businesses which have no more than five employees
- In operation before Dec. 31, 2019, and still in operation in 2022
- Microbusiness was the primary source of revenue for the business owner
- Demonstrated decline in revenue or service demand due to COVID-19 in 2020 or 2021 as compared to 2019
- Must have a valid business license or permit
- Must have a signed IRS Form W-9 and government-issued photo ID
Nonprofits within San Benito County which operated with at least $1,000 in revenue in 2019 may also apply, but must meet these criteria:
- Still in operation with nonprofit 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) or 501(c)(19) status and are currently registered with the California Secretary of State
- Proof of revenue with a 990 filing and current registration
- Did not receive funding from the California Relief Grant (administered by Lendistry)
The application period begins April 1 and runs through May 6. The county will be holding informational Zoom meetings, tentatively scheduled for the evenings of April 6 and April 21. After the closing date, documents will be reviewed by staff through May 20, and the county will be contacting applicants if additional information is required. Successful applicants will be notified on July 1 and the grants will be awarded on July 22.
On March 10, the San Benito County Economic Development Ad Hoc Committee, consisting of County Supervisors Peter Hernandez and Bob Tiffany, received a briefing from the county’s Assistant Clerk Graciela Rodriquez on the grant program.
Rodriguez said the county is particularly encouraging businesses that have systemic barriers to traditional capital, such as women or minority-owned businesses, those residing in rural areas, and individuals with limited English proficiency.
The supervisors predicted that, after administrative expenses, about 25 of the grants will be issued and agreed to distribute them on a first-come, first-served basis, urging potential applicants to file for a grant as soon as possible.
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