Good news for small businesses suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19! On July 7th, applications opened for the City of Austin’s Small Business Relief Grant program, which provides assistance of up to $40,000 per qualifying business to be used for rent, payroll, and other approved expenses incurred between March 1 and July 7, 2020. $16.5 million in federal funding from the CARES Act has been set aside for this program.

To be eligible, businesses must be able to demonstrate an economic loss associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, have been in continuous operation for at least two years, have under $5 million in annual revenue, be located within a City Council District, provide one year of federal tax returns, and have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees (full time = 30+ hours/week, and two half-time employees would count as one full-time equivalent employee.) The grant is open to businesses operating under various business structures such as partnerships, sole proprietorships, LLCs, cooperatives, etc. Businesses who aren’t eligible include those engaged in multi-level marketing, lobbying, those who receive more than one third of their annual revenue from gambling, religious institutions, businesses debarred from contracting with the federal government, government entities, individuals, and nonprofits (there is a separate City grant for nonprofits, up to $20k.) Full-time City of Austin employees are not eligible for the Small Business Relief Grant.

Eligible expenses include rent, payroll, facility and business modifications for safety compliance, PPE, sanitation and cleaning, inventory, business insurance, technology, business adaptation and worker training, operational costs, and more. The grant does not cover lost sales or sponsorships, merchandise sold for marketing purposes, or costs that have been paid for by other COVID-19 grants or loans.

Applications will close at 5pm on July 24, and no priority is given to early applicants. Half of the applications will be evaluated according to a scoring matrix, and the other half will be distributed according to a lottery. For more information about the scoring matrix and detailed eligibility criteria, visit https://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-small-business-relief-grant. For complete resources on Covid-19 recovery, visit www.atxrecovers.com.

AIBA and the Local Economies Council are working with the City and the Better Business Bureau, the administers of the application and selection process, to get information and assistance to local businesses in Austin. Please reach out to us at hello@ibuyaustin.com or 512-441-2123 with questions or if you need technical assistance in completing the application.

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