The Austin Small Business Relief Grant is the available to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 recover some costs. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $40,000 toward their business needs including rent, payroll and other economic necessities. In order to be eligible for the grant, businesses must be able to demonstrate an economic loss associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic and must be headquartered inside the city of Austin (in a City of Austin Council district).
The program is being administered by the Austin Better Business Bureau and will continue taking applications through July 24th at 5pm. The grant program is unique in that it is offering reimbursement funds for expenses incurred during the months of March, April, May and June. Expenses submitted for this grant must not being covered by PPP or EIDL funds previously received. Because of the reimbursement nature of the grant, lost sales, donations and sponsorships are not eligible for submission. However, a wide range of other expenses, including operation expenses, are eligible for the grant.
Another unique facet of the program is that the funds will be dispersed by evaluating each application against using a scoring matrix that assesses need, vulnerability of the business, and equity considerations. Half of the funds will be distributed to those scoring highest on this matrix and the other half of the funds will be distributed using a random lottery (among ALL eligible applicants). This means that if a business does not score high enough on the matrix to receive funding from that half, they have an equal chance to everyone else to receive the other half of the funding. For this reason, businesses owned by members of historically marginalized communities are especially encouraged to apply.
The application scoring matrix includes 15 total points for race and/or ethnicity of ownership, gender of ownership and location in a low to moderate income areas of town. An additional 15 total points are available for number of employees, annual revenue and years in operation. Lastly, 20 total points are available for what is called urgency. This includes COVID-19 response, the ability to stay in business during stay at home orders, working capital reserves and likely impact of not receiving the grant.
This scoring matrix and distribution plan attempt to reach those small businesses hardest hit by the pandemic. We are available to answer any questions you may have about the process or to provide assistance in filling the application itself out. Reach out if you need us – we are here for you!