California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program

A collaboration with local partners and the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA)

Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grants

In order to support small business employers facing financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Monterey County Workforce Development Board, in partnership with the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) has established the COVID-19 Microbusiness Grant fund.

The fund will provide grants to eligible small employers experiencing economic stresses caused by the pandemic. At minimum $455,000 is available for at least 180 businesses to receive grants of $2,500.

Attention All Applicants!
The California Microbusiness COVID-19 Grant Relief program is free to apply. If you need assistance with the application process or with submitting the required documentation, visit us or one of our many partner organizations listed below.

 

Click here or on the video link above to view the English version of the California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program Presentation

Click here or on the video link above to view the Spanish version of the California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program Presentation

Timeline and Funding Availability

Businesses with 1-5 full-time equivalent employees are eligible for total grant funding of $2,500. At minimum $455,000 is available for at least 180 businesses to receive grants of $2,500.

The application period begins on March 28, 2002, and will remain open until all funds have been exhausted.

Eligibility

Eligible businesses:

  • Currently have 5 or less full-time equivalent employees and had 5 or less full-time equivalent employees in the 2019 and 2020 taxable years
  • Are owned, operated, and headquartered in Monterey County
  • Were established and in operation prior to December 31, 2019
  • Made less than $50,000 in revenues in 2019
  • Did not receive a grant under the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program
  • Are able to provide government-issued photo identification and secondary documentation such as a bank statement, tax return, or business license
  • Are currently open or have a reopening plan
  • Demonstrate that they have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, as evidenced by at least a 10% reduction in revenue from the 2019 and 2020 taxable years
  • Have a sustainability plan and are able to demonstrate how the grants funds would be used to keep their business open and their workers employed

Businesses that are NOT eligible:

  • Currently have more than 5 full-time equivalent employees and had more than 5 full-time equivalent employees in the 2019 and 2020 taxable years
  • Are owned, operated, and headquartered outside of Monterey County
  • Were established after December 31, 2019
  • Made more than $50,000 in revenues in 2019
  • Received a grant under the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program
  • Are not able to provide government-issued photo identification
  • Are permanently closed
  • Non-profit organizations
Required Documentation

All of the following documentation must be either uploaded with the online Application or submitted with the paper Application in order for an Application to be considered complete.

  • Government-issued Photo Identification – either be state, domestic, or foreign such as a driver’s license, passport, and state ID cards.
  • 2019 Federal Tax Return Form 1040, Schedule C which lists the business name, business address, Employer Identification Number (EIN), and revenue amount.
  • Payroll Record for any one pay period dated after March 2020 providing proof of the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. If a formal payroll record cannot be provided, an Applicant Statement document can be made available for the applicant to self-certify the current employee count.
  • W-9 (downloadable IRS form)
  • Vendor Data Record (VDR) – This form is required by the County in order to make a payment of County funds to your business. Your business information must be provided accurately in order for you to receive your check if awarded. Make sure the contact information you provide is accurate, particularly the mailing address, as this is where the check will be mailed. If you choose to have your check mailed to a location other than your business address, list that address in the “Remit To” section of the form.
Application Instructions & Tips

Important Reminders:

1. You may submit only one Application.

2. Applicants with multiple businesses may only apply for one grant. If you apply for multiple grants, only one will be reviewed.

3. You will have 60 minutes to complete the Application before the system times out. If you exit the application before completing it, your information will NOT be saved and you will have to start over at the beginning.

4. Contact the MCWDB by email at MCSBG@co.monterey.ca.us if you have questions or require assistance. Due to the high volume of applications, assistance will only be provided by email. Answers to frequently asked questions will also be posted in the FAQs section below, which will be updated regularly.

5. Review the program information and eligibility requirements carefully before beginning the online application. It is also recommended that you review the informational presentation to learn more.

6. If you prefer to submit an application in person or by mail, rather than online, you may download and print the blank documents on the webpage or pick them up at the MCWDB office. This includes the Application, VDR, and W-9.

7. Prepare and upload all required documentation before beginning the online application:

      • Government-issued Photo Identification – either be state, domestic, or foreign such as a driver’s license, passport, and state ID cards.
      • 2019 Federal Tax Return Form 1040, Schedule C which lists the business name, business address, Employer Identification Number (EIN), and revenue amount.
      • Payroll Record for any one pay period dated after March 2020 providing proof of the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. If a formal payroll record cannot be provided, an Applicant Statement document can be made available for the applicant to self-certify the current employee count.
      • W-9 (downloadable IRS form )
      • Vendor Data Record (VDR)  – This form is required by the County in order to make a payment of County funds to your business. Your business information must be provided accurately in order for you to receive your check if awarded. Make sure the contact information you provide is accurate, particularly the mailing address, as this is where the check will be mailed. If you choose to have your check mailed to a location other than your business address, list that address in the “Remit To” section of the form.

8. The following documentation must be provided with the Application:

      • Make sure all uploaded documents are clear and legible. If they are not legible, review of your application and/or processing of your payment may be delayed.
      • Documents must be in PDF or JPEG format.
      • You may download a copy of the printable version of the application if you would like to review it before starting your online application.
      • All fields of the online application must be completed in order for you to be able to submit the application.
      • Make sure all of the information you submit is accurate, particularly the email address of the primary contact listed in the Application, as all communication with your business will be conducted by email to the primary contact’s email address.
      • Remember to click the SUBMIT button once you have completed the application and uploaded all required documents.

 Application Submission:

  • Applications may be submitted beginning Monday, March 28 until all funds have been exhausted.
  • You may submit your application one of three ways: online (preferred and recommended method), in-person at the MCWDB office at 344 Salinas Street, Suite 101, Salinas, CA 93901 (Monday-Friday between 8:30 am – 4:30 pm), or by mail to the Monterey County Workforce Development Board, 344 Salinas, Suite 101, Salinas, CA 93901
  • Notify the MCWDB at MCSBG@co.monterey.ca.us if you require assistance or accommodations for completing and submitting your application.
Award Notification & Payment Information

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU CHECK YOUR EMAIL REGULARLY, AS ALL COMMUNICATION ABOUT YOUR APPLICATION AND AWARD WILL BE VIA EMAIL!

  • If your application is approved and you are selected to be a grant recipient, you will be notified of your award via email from MCSBG@co.monterey.ca.us.
  • If you are awarded a grant but the documentation you submitted is unclear or incomplete, you will be notified and asked to resubmit the documents. You will not receive your payment unless all required documentation is submitted.
  • If all required documentation is not submitted by the assigned deadline, your award will be forfeited.
  • If awarded and you need to change your check delivery address, you must let the MCWDB know as soon as possible.
  • You will be notified by email when your check has been mailed to you. If you do not receive your check within three weeks of this notification, please notify the MCWDB immediately at MCSBG@co.monterey.ca.us.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These FAQs will be updated as additional questions are received. Please check back here to find answers to your questions. If you still have questions or require assistance, please email the Monterey County Workforce Development Board and posted at MCSBG@co.monterey.ca.us.

GRANT AWARDS

Q1. How much grant funding may I request? Is the size of the grant limited?

You may request the full and only amount of $2,500.

Q2. What if I do not need or cannot demonstrate need of the full $2,500?

Funding requests may not be less than $2,500. Requests should be aligned with the economic impact and need for financial assistance reflected in your application.

Q3. Is this a loan or a grant? Will it have to be paid back?

It is a grant and does not have to be paid back unless the recipient was found to have provided false information.

Q4. How many awards will be granted?

At least 180 awards will be granted to eligible and approved businesses.

 

BUSINESS ELIGIBILITY

Q5. How do I calculate the total number of employees? What if my employees only work 35 hours/week?

For the purpose of this grant application, the maximum of 5 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees may be comprised of a combination of full-time and part-time employees. An employee who works at least an average of 30 hours per week is considered full-time. Independent contractors are not considered employees and may not be included in the employee count.

Q6. What kind of documentation is needed to show the number of employees?

Submit payroll records that support what you reported in the Application as the current number of employees employed by your business, part-time and full-time. Detailed payroll records are required, which show the employee name and number of hours worked per week. Payroll records showing current number of employees (records must be at least as recent as March 2020 or later) are required by all applicants. If a formal payroll record cannot be provided, an Applicant Statement document can be made available for the applicant to self-certify the current employee count.

Q7. I previously received COVID-19 funding  am I also eligible to apply for this grant?

You are not eligible to apply for this grant if you previously received funding from the CA Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant program. However, you may apply for this grant if you have previously received other financial assistance for COVID-19 crisis-related relief, whether it was in the form of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a small business grant from the Monterey County Workforce Development Board, or other COVID-19 related grants or loans.

Q8. Are grants only being awarded to businesses in certain industry sectors? Do I have to be in Hospitality to apply?

Eligibility is not restricted to specific industry sectors. You may apply no matter what sector you are in (if you meet all other eligibility requirements).

Q9. How can I show Proof of Business?

We require that all applicants submit a copy of your 2019 Federal Tax Return Form 1040, Schedule C which lists the business name, business address, Employer Identification Number (EIN), and revenue amount.

Q10. My business is located in a city (incorporated area) – am I eligible to apply?

Yes, you may apply whether your business is located in an incorporated area or an unincorporated area.

Q11. My business has multiple locations – can I apply for more than one grant?

No, only one application will be accepted per business and per owner.

Q12. I own three separate businesses, all different corporations – can I apply for a grant for each of them?

No, applicants with multiple businesses may only apply for one grant. If you apply for multiple grants, only one of the Applications will be reviewed.

Q13. My business is not located in Monterey County, but I am a Monterey County resident – am I eligible to apply?

No. The business must be owned, operated, and headquartered in Monterey County in order to be eligible.

Q14. My business is located in Monterey County but I (the owner) am not a Monterey County resident – am I eligible to apply?

The eligibility of the business is dependent on it being owned and operated by a legal entity that is headquartered in Monterey County, meaning it is officially based in Monterey County according to tax and other public records. If your business or the company that owns your business is officially headquartered in Monterey County, it should be eligible. Where you as an individual live is irrelevant unless your address outside of Monterey County is also the official address of the business.

Q15. Are non-profit organizations eligible to apply?

No, non-profit organizations are not eligible for the grant at this time.

Q16. Are religious organizations eligible to apply?

Only for-profit businesses are eligible; non-profit organizations are not eligible.

Q17. I am self-employed or an independent contractor – am I eligible to apply?

Yes, those who are self-employed with less than 5 employees or independent contractors are eligible to apply.

Q18. I am a local franchisee – am I eligible to apply?

Possibly. You are eligible if your business meets the eligibility criteria.

Q19. What documentation must I provide to apply? What if I am not able to provide all of the information or documentation?

All information requested in the Application and all required documentation must be provided in order for the Application to be considered for an award. You may email the MCWDB at MCSBG@co.monterey.ca.us if you require technical assistance related to completing your Application or providing the documentation. You must upload the following documentation with the online application (or submit hard copies if submitting your application in person or by mail):

  • Government-issued Photo Identification that are either be state, domestic, or foreign such as a driver’s license, passport, and state ID cards.
  • 2019 Federal Tax ReturnForm 1040, Schedule C which lists the business name, business address, Employer Identification Number (EIN), and revenue amount.
  • Payroll Record
    • This is to provide proof of the current number of employees for any given pay period dated after March 2020.
    • You MUST redact any personal employee information in the payroll records, such as their Social Security Numbers.
    • If a formal payroll record cannot be provided, an Applicant Statement document can be made available for the applicant to self-certify the current employee count.
  • W-9 – This IRS form can be downloaded from the webpage in the Resource Documents section, at the beginning of the online application, and on the IRS website.
  • Vendor Data Record – This form can be downloaded from the webpage in the Resource Documents section or at the beginning of the online Application.
    • If you are not able to provide all the required documentation or information, your application will be subject to a third-party verification process.

Q20. Why might I NOT qualify for a grant?

Reasons for which a business may not qualify include:

  • More than 5 full-time equivalent employees (Full Time Equivalent)
  • Not owned, operated, and headquartered in Monterey County
  • Was not in operation on or before December 31, 2019
  • Not a for-profit business
  • Insufficient demonstration of negative economic impact due to the COVID-19 crisis and need of financial assistance
  • Insufficient demonstration of a plan to sustain the business and utilize grant funds to remain open and keep workers employed
  • Incomplete application
  • Insufficient documentation
 

EXPENSE ELIGIBILITY

Q21. Are there restrictions on how I can use the grant funds my business receives if awarded?

Yes. If awarded a grant, you must use the grant funds for the purposes described in your application. Eligible uses are the same as the types of eligible expenses:

  1. The purchase of new certified equipment including, but not limited to, a cart
  2. Investment in working capital
  3. Application for, or renewal of, a local permit including, but not limited to, a permit to operate as a sidewalk vendor
  4. Payment of business debt accrued due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  5. Costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and related health and safety restrictions, or business interruptions or closures incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
 

APPLICATION & DOCUMENTATION

Q22. Who may apply on behalf of my business?

Only the business owner can sign and submit the Application. Only one application per person and per business is permitted.

Q23. What is a Vendor Data Record?

A Vendor Data Record (VDR) is a form that is required by the County in order to disburse public funds. The VDR is required regardless of the type of business or whether you have a business license. An awardee must have submitted a complete application, 2019 tax return Form 1040, Schedule C, current payroll record, W-9, and VDR in order to receive funds.

Q24. How do I submit the required documentation with the application?

Documents should be uploaded as attachments (as PDF or JPEG files) when completing the online application. Make sure copies of documents are clear and legible. They may also be submitted as hard copies if accompanying an Application being delivered in person or by mail.

Q25. May I send my application by mail?

Yes. Applications may be submitted online, in person, or by mail. Sending the Application by mail is not recommended due to possible delays in the postal system. If you do submit it by mail, send it to the Monterey County Workforce Development Board, 344 Salinas Street, Suite 101, Salinas, CA 93901.

Q26. May I deliver my application in person?

Yes. Applications may be submitted online, in person, or by mail. You may deliver your Application and backup documentation to the MCWDB office at 344 Salinas Street, Suite 101, Salinas, CA 93901. The office is open Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. If no one is available to answer the door, please put your documents through the mail at the foot of the office door to your right.

Q27. What languages is the application available in?

The application is available in English and Spanish. The W-9 and Vendor Data Record forms are in English only. However, translation services can be arranged if needed to complete the application and/or receive assistance.

Q28. Can I apply if I do not have access to a computer?

The application is mobile-friendly so it may be completed on a smartphone or tablet. You may also pick up a paper application and required forms at the MCWDB office at 344 Salinas Street, Suite 101, Salinas, CA 93901.

Q29. How long will it take to fill out the application?

Approximately 15-20 minutes (if all information and documentation are on hand to enter/upload).

Q30. If I start my application online and have to stop, does it save my information, or will I need to start over?

No, the application must be completed in one sitting. The system times out after 60 minutes. If you exit out of the Application page without submitting it, your information will not be saved, and you must start over.

Q31. Is the information I am submitting online secure?

Yes, your information will remain secure. (Be sure to only upload or send documents in PDF or JPEG file formats. Do not send Microsoft Word, Excel, or other types of files.)

Q32. Will I get a confirmation that my application was received?

Yes. You will receive confirmation via email (to the email address listed on your application) within 48-72 hours of submission that your application was received. You will also receive a communication via email after your application is reviewed informing you of the approval or denial of your application. If you do not receive this confirmation email, it means that your application was NOT successfully submitted and you should submit it again.

Q33. Is PPP the same thing as California Small Business Covid-19 Relief Grant Program?

A loan from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) is not the same thing as the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, so if your business received a PPP loan or any other COVID-19 related grant/loan you are still encouraged to apply if you meet all the eligibility criteria.

Q34. Schedule C on Form 1040 is not filed since the company files as an S-Corp, not a sole proprietorship. Is there an alternative form that can be submitted?

Any form within your tax return packet is acceptable, as long as it includes the same required information: business name, business address, Employer Identification Number (EIN), and revenue amount.

Q35. What are other eligible business expenses/debt the grant could be used for? Are state taxes eligible?

Per the CalOSBA guidelines for this grant program, only the following expenses are eligible:

  1. The purchase of new certified equipment including, but not limited to, a cart
  2. Investment in working capital
  3. Application for, or renewal of, a local permit including, but not limited to, a permit to operate as a sidewalk vendor
  4. Payment of business debt accrued due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  5. Costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and related health and safety restrictions, or business interruptions or closures incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
Need Additional Assistance? Visit one of our partners.

Our Microbusiness COVID-19 Grant Program partner organizations are available to provide additional assistance and to answer grant-related questions:

Cal Coastal Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – Spanish Assistance Available
(831) 676-2017
https://calcoastalsbdc.com/

El Pajaro Community Development Corporation – Spanish Assistance Available
(831) 722-1224
https://www.elpajarocdc.org/

Monterey County Business Council (MCBC)
(831) 216-3013
http://mcbc.biz/

Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (MPCC)
(831) 648-5350
https://www.montereychamber.com/

Salinas United Business Association (SUBA) – Spanish Assistance Available
(831) 796-0896
https://subasalinas.org/

Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce (SVCC)
(831) 751-7725
https://www.salinaschamber.com/

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