Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program Guidelines


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Join us for information and to get help with your application:

North County / Santa Maria

Thursday, May 25 / 10 am – 12 noon

Santa Barbara Foundation

2625 S. Miller St.
Santa Maria

South County / Santa Barbara
Thursday, May 25 / 4 – 6 pm

Museum of Contemporary Art
653 Paseo Nuevo (upstairs, across from Center Stage Theater)

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

If you cannot attend, please

Call: (805) 880-9352
Text “Grant” to (724) 860-8686
Email: Andi@sbfoundation.org

We are here to help you complete your application and receive your grant!

Introduction and Program Overview

The County of Santa Barbara, in partnership with the Santa Barbara Foundation, launched the Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program (MBCRG) to assist microbusinesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and the associated health and safety restrictions. This program consists of microbusiness assistance grants and eligible microbusinesses may apply for up to $2,500.00 in grant funding.

This opportunity is made possible through the California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. The California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program (MBCRG) was created in 2021 to assist qualified microbusinesses that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in California. The California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program was enacted by Senate Bill No. 151(Government Code 12100.90).

The intent of the funding is to provide relief to the hardest to reach microbusinesses and entrepreneurs. To facilitate meaningful access to program participation, we will prioritize outreach and marketing efforts to identify and engage eligible microbusinesses that face systemic barriers to access capital, including but not limited to, businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, individuals without documentation, individuals with limited English proficiency, and business owners located in low wealth and rural, communities.

Program Application

Applications will be available as early as March 7, 2022, at the Santa Barbara Foundation South County and North County offices and online through the grant portal.  Funding is limited, and applications will be reviewed and processed as received in a completed form, and processed on a first-come, first-served basis, except that, it is the County’s desire to ensure assistance is provided in a cross-geographic manner.   Santa Barbara Foundation will track assistance provided per Supervisorial District or other geographic locations, as approved by the County.

The MBCRG program will allocate funds throughout the county to ensure equitable distribution of funding.

Complete applications may be submitted to the Santa Barbara Foundation via online portal or via mail to (or as otherwise directed by Santa Barbara Foundation to ensure both electronic and non-electronic means and to ensure reasonable accommodations):

Santa Barbara Foundation                                          Santa Barbara Foundation

South County Office                                                   North County Office

1111 Chapala Street, No. 200                         2625 South Miller Street, Suite 101

Santa Barbara, CA 93101                                            Santa Maria, CA 93455


Submission of an application does not guarantee a grant award. As noted, applications will be reviewed for completeness before being accepted, and compliance with program requirements.


Program Description

The Emergency Business Assistance program will provide grants up to $2,500 to Microenterprises that were adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible Microenterprise Businesses (MEB)

A microbusiness must satisfy the following criteria to be eligible to receive a COVID-19 Relief grant:

  • Must meet the definition of an eligible microbusiness (see Definitions).
  • Active businesses operating since at least December 2019.
  • The microbusiness is currently active and operating or has a clear plan to reopen when the state permits reopening of the business.
  • The microbusiness was significantly impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The microbusiness had less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) in revenues in the 2019 taxable year.
  • The microbusiness currently has fewer than five full-time equivalent employees and had fewer than five full-time equivalent employees in the 2019 and 2020 taxable years.
  • The microbusiness is not a business excluded from participation in the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, as specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) Government Code Section 12100.82.
  • The microbusiness owner can provide acceptable form of government-issued photo ID (state, domestic, or foreign) and documentation that includes the owner’s name may include but is not limited to the following: a local business permit or license, a bank statement, a tax return, a trade account, a self-attestation/self-certification done under penalty of perjury.
  • The microbusiness owner must be the majority-owner and manager of the qualified micro business and the owner’s primary means of income in the 2019 taxable year.
  • The microbusiness owner did not receive a grant under the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.
  • Nonprofits are eligible if they comply with all eligibility requirements of the program including having made a minimum of $1,000.00 in gross revenue during the 2019 taxable year.

Eligible Use of Funds

Microbusiness owner who is a recipient of a grant pursuant to this Program will be required to self-certify that grant funds will be used for one or more of the following eligible uses:

  • The purchase of new certified equipment including, but not limited to, a cart.
  • Investment in working capital.
  • Application for, or renewal of, a local permit including, but not limited to, a permit to operate as a sidewalk vendor.
  • Payment of business debt accrued due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 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, as defined in subdivision (l) Government Code Section 12100.83.


Funds cannot be used to cover the same expenses for the same period that the PPP/EIDL funds covered.

Ineligible Microenterprise Businesses

The following business types are not eligible for assistance:

  • Businesses located outside of Santa Barbara County.
  • Passive businesses operating as passive income are not eligible for the program. (i.e. rental property or other business in which one does not actively participate)
  • Businesses cannot have received a grant from the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.
  • Businesses engaged in any activity that is illegal under federal, state, or local law.
  • Businesses with more than 5 employees (including owner).

Microenterprise Application Process

Applicants will be required to complete an initial application and provide copies of the following documents:

  1. IRS Form W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification)
  2. Federal income tax return for Business owner in 2019 & 2020
  3. Documentation that the business was adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (this may include showing loss in revenue/ profit or other documentation).
  4. Government-issued photo identification (state, domestic, or foreign)
  5. Documentation that includes the owner’s name and may include, but is not limited to, the following, a local business permit or license, bank statement, additional documentation to verify a microbusiness is a “qualified microbusiness”, as deemed appropriate by the fiscal agent.

The Santa Barbara Foundation and Santa Barbara County reserves the right to request additional information upon receiving the application to determine program compliance.