New Small Business Relief Grant Program Details Now Available; Applications Open Thursday
The Governor last week announced a new $668 million program to provide financial assistance to Massachusetts small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Detailed eligibility and application information are now available. The application period will open this Thursday, December 31st.
A summary of the program's eligibility and application requirements, as well information on the size of awards and how they may be used, is included below. Click here to access complete program details as well as the online application portal.
The program, titled the "Sector-Specific Relief Grant Program for Massachusetts Businesses," is being administered through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC).
In order to be eligible for this program, a business must:
- Have a physical establishment in Massachusetts
- Be a for-profit entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, cooperative or LLC)
- Be able to document a loss of income equal to or greater than requested assistance due to COVID-19 pandemic
- Be currently in operation, or if not in operation must have an intent to reopen
- Have been established prior to June 30th, 2019
- Be in good standing with the state and its city/town (current on all taxes due through March 1st, 2020, and have active and valid state licenses/registrations, if applicable)
The following businesses and organizations are NOT eligible for this program:
- Real estate rentals/sales businesses
- Businesses owned by persons under age 18
- Businesses that are chains (chains are defined as businesses not headquartered in Massachusetts with multiple locations)
- Liquor stores
- Weapons/firearms dealers
- Cannabis-related businesses
- Non-profit organizations
Preference will be given to the following sectors:
- Restaurants, bars, caterers, and food trucks that collect and remit meals tax
- Indoor Recreation or Entertainment Establishments (e.g. movie theaters, comedy clubs, performing arts venues/organizations, arcades, bowling centers, pool/billiard halls, escape-the-rooms, trampoline parks, roller-skating rinks, other indoor spectator sports venues)
- Gyms or Fitness Centers (gyms, athletic clubs, exercise centers, health clubs, sports facilities, and fitness instruction centers such as aerobics, dance, yoga, karate, etc.)
- Personal Services (nail salons, barber shops, etc.)
- Event Support Companies where the primary source (more than 50%) of revenue is event-related (photography studios, videography studios, florists, limo services, event planning companies, event rentals, performers, convention and trade show organizations)
- Independent Retailers (businesses with brick and mortar locations that collect and remit sales tax)
This fund is intended to target the hardest hit small businesses that have an exceptional need of cash relief. MGCC discourages applications from businesses that:
- Are not showing an operating loss due to the coronavirus pandemic
- Have access to other sources of relief
- Have been able to continue to operate without significant financial distress
- Have adequate available reserves
Additionally, larger companies that are better positioned to endure this economic downturn and COVID-19 related restrictions should not apply.
An excessive number of applications submitted by businesses with lesser need will delay the awarding of grants to businesses facing extraordinary circumstances. An application review for a company without a truly exceptional need delays assistance for a business at risk of permanent closure.
The application period will open on December 31st at 12:00 noon, and close at 11:59 PM on January 15th. Applications must be completed electronically through MGCC's online application portal, and submitted along with specified required documentation. Materials or applications submitted in any other manner will not be considered. Please visit the program's website to access more detailed application requirements.
Required documentation will include:
- Certificate of Good Standing from the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office
- Complete 2019 Federal Business Tax Return
- Complete 2019 Federal Personal Tax Returns for each business owner with 20% or greater ownership
Businesses can receive up to $75,000, capped at up to 3 months of operating expenses, as evidenced by 2019 Federal Tax Returns. Grant amounts will be considered for actual expenses for 2020 during the pandemic. Expenses can be considered since March 10th, 2020, given that it does not exceed 3 months of operating expenses evidenced by 2019 Federal Tax Returns.
Eligible use of the funds will include:
- Employee payroll and benefit costs
- Mortgage interest
- Interest on other debt obligations
Funds may NOT be utilized for:
- Major equipment purchases
- Purchase of real property
- Construction activities
- Business expansion
Recipients may not apply funds awarded through this program to any expense that has been or will be covered by another source of federal or state funding, including but not limited to the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
Businesses will be required to retain certain documentation to demonstrate that funds were properly utilized. Click here to access complete program details.