As the COVID 19 pandemic has raged across the United States and the world, businesses have shut down or have come very close due to lack of supplies, forced closures due to the potential for pandemic spread, and loss of revenue from cancelled events. Many people’s livelihoods have been severely threatened as a result.
As more and more US businesses faced this dire situation, the federal government issued funds to states through the CARES Act. In addition, programs like the EIDL and PPP, which provided forgivable or partially forgivable loans, as well as stimulus checks to individuals, helped address the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
As we entered 2022, vaccines had been approved, and doors were once again opening for businesses shuttered by the pandemic. In-person events were being scheduled again, providing a sorely needed revenue stream for many organizations. However, post-pandemic life is still not looking rosy for many companies. The lost revenue over the past two years has placed a significant strain on businesses.
Recognizing this situation, many communities, organizations and states are still providing relief to affected businesses in the form of grant opportunities. There are three basic types of business recovery grants:
- Those that provide a fixed amount of relief to companies meeting the qualifications
- Those that reimburse companies for lost revenue
- Those that provide a combination of technical assistance and grant funding to help businesses get back on their feet
Let’s look at business recovery grants in a little more detail.
Who Issues Business Recovery Grants?
Business Recovery Grants are typically issued either by state economic development departments or by communities highly impacted by the pandemic (resort communities for example). State grants tend to be offered for a longer time period than those offered by communities.
How Much Can You Receive from Business Recovery Grants?
Business recovery grant amounts vary greatly. For most community-based grants, awards typically range from $1,000 to $25,000. State grants range from $10,000 to $50,000, but some states have awarded much larger grants, particularly to help manufacturers address supply chain challenges. My company, Lakeview Consulting, helped one Kansas manufacturers get over $3,000,000 for two new manufacturing lines from the state of Kansas early in the pandemic! There have also been larger grants made to conference centers and tourism venues who lost massive amounts of money due to event restrictions and forced closures.
Some programs allow businesses to be reimbursed for lost revenue. In these cases, the amount awarded will be dependent on that revenue drop.
A number of nonprofit organizations have developed combination technical assistance/grant programs. These grants typically target minority and underserved communities and provide coaching, mentoring and training in addition to a fixed award. The grants in these cases range from $1,000 to $5,000, but the additional training and mentoring provides additional value and infrastructure to help very small businesses grow and succeed.
How Long Will Business Recovery Grants Be Offered?
It is surprising to me that there are still so many new programs being announced. I attribute the continuation of these programs to the speed (or lack of) at which states are spending out their CARES Act money. I expect that these grants will continue to be offered through the end of this year, but that the rate of new program announcements will slow dramatically as the year progresses. As many state budgets run from July 1 to June 30, we may see a few new state or community programs announced even after the New Year.
What Advice Is There for Someone Wishing to Pursue Business Recovery Grants?
I have a few pieces of advice in this regard:
- Read the business recovery grant funding opportunity carefully. Make sure you are eligible and you haven’t missed the deadline.
- Make sure to attach all required documents to the application. Applications that reimburse you for lost revenue, for example, require you to produce evidence such as bank statements (redacted) to prove the lost revenue.
- Make sure you fully complete the application. Most of these applications are pretty simple, but make sure you fully complete the application. If you don’t, you risk not obtaining the funding.
- Don’t expect to get funding just because you qualify. We were helping one of our clients, a trade association, with obtaining funding through the state of Illinois. Although this client had lost a significant portion of their previous year’s revenues due the cancellation of events and fundraisers, and we among the highest priorities for funding, they didn’t receive their award. The money was all spent before the state was able to review their application.
If you need expert guidance in completing a state or community grant applications, or would like to learn more about our grant consulting services, contact me. I would be happy to jump on a 15-minute call to answer any questions you have.