Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much funding is available through the Microbusiness Grant Program?

The California Office of the Small Business Advocate (Cal OSBA) has allocated funding to each County in the State based on population. Less administrative costs, Santa Barbara Foundation and Santa Barbara County has $ 444,896 available to distribute to qualified microbusinesses.

What are the sizes of the awards?

Qualified businesses may receive $2,500 in a one-time payment dependent upon approval of application and availability of funds.

Will I need to pay the money back? Is this a grant program or a loan program?

This is a grant program, not a loan, so you will not need to pay the money back. The only exception is if you do not use all the funds, or if you do not use them in the manner stated on your application funds will need to be returned.

What can funds be spent on?

Per the CalOSBA Guidelines, eligible use of funds are:

  • 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.

Are funds allocated on a first-come, first-served basis for qualified applicants?

Yes, applications will be considered until funds are exhausted. Should the number of eligible applications received exceed the amount of funding available, a lottery will be performed.

How do I know if my business is eligible for funding?

Before applying, everyone must review eligibility criteria which will determine whether or not their business is eligible to apply.

Can I apply if I received funds from the California Relief Grant program?

No, you may not apply if you received funds from the California Relief Grant Program.

Can I apply if I received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?

Yes, you can apply if you received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program or other pandemic-related grant or loan programs.

Can I apply if I already received a grant from other local entities like Santa Barbara Foundation?

Yes, you can apply if you already received a grant from other local entities.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No, you do not need to be a U.S. citizen to apply.

What is the reasoning behind the eligible business size?

The intent of the funding from Cal OSBA is to provide relief to the hardest to reach microbusinesses and entrepreneurs. The County will implement an outreach and marketing plan 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.

Applying for the Grant

How do I apply?

You can apply online on this website. You can begin the application process at  https://grantsportal.sbfoundation.org/Accounts/LogOn. First time users will need to create an account before accessing the application.

When does the application open?

The application period opens on March 7, 2022 at 9am. You can save your in-progress application, so it does not need to be completed in one sitting. Please take your time to complete the application. Incomplete applications will NOT be accepted.

What’s the deadline to apply?

Applications will be considered until funds are exhausted.

Do I have to fill out the application online? Can I submit my application via mail or in person?

No, applications will be able available for pick at the locations referenced in the grant program guidelines. Yes, applications can be submitted via mail or in person at the two locations referenced in the program guidelines.

I own/operate more than one business or nonprofit organization. Am I allowed to submit an application for each business/nonprofit I own if they meet the qualifications?

No, you may only apply one time even if you own, co-own, or operate multiple businesses or nonprofits. Only one business will be eligible.

Why do I need to fill out a W-9?

The Santa Barbara Foundation and County is required to report grant funding information to the United States Treasury at the end of the year, which is done using W-9 forms. Filling out a W-9 now will help us send out checks more quickly to successful applicants. No funds will be disbursed without a W-9 and applications will be deemed incomplete without the W-9.

Why are you asking for a business financial statement or tax return?

Your financial statements allow us to verify that your business is active in Santa Barbara County; meets the eligibility requirements for revenue; practices sound financial management; and is financially viable.

Do I need to submit all the documents? What if I don’t have all the documents that I need to apply?

You must submit ALL the required documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

How can I prove my business was in operation prior on or prior to December 31, 2019?

You will need to attest that your business or nonprofit was in operation by clicking the box on the application and submitting copies of your 2019 tax returns.

What if I have multiple locations for a single business, which address should I use?

Please select what you might consider the “primary” business location.

What do I do if I need a W-9?

You can click to fill out a blank W-9 Form in English or in Spanish.

Do applicants receive a confirmation that they submitted their application?

Yes, you will receive a confirmation email upon submission of your application.

Receiving Grant Funds

How will I be contacted or know if I will receive a grant?

You will be notified by email. Checks will be mailed. Be sure to check your email regularly, including your spam folders.

Will I be contacted if I do not receive a grant?

Yes, you will be notified by email whether or not you receive a grant.

How will I receive funds?

A paper check will be sent to the mailing address on your application.

What’s required of me if I receive a grant? Are there any strings attached?

If selected, you must use these funds for valid COVID-19 related expenses identified in your application. Funds may not be used for a different business or personal expenses. Funding is not transferable.

Do I have to pay the money back, like a loan?

No. The funds you receive are a grant, not a loan, and do not need to be paid back.

If I have questions after reading this FAQ, what do I do?

Contact Santa Barbara Foundation Grant Coordinator, Andi Garcia at AGarcia@SBFoundation.org or (805) 880-9352