Thursday, June 24, 2021

Ventura Journal’s Guide for small businesses relief grants

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For small businesses and restaurants within the Ventura County area, the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, Restaurant Revitalization Fund and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant are now accepting new applications.

California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program

On April 28, the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program opened its sixth-round of applications for new businesses and businesses that had previously been waitlisted in either the first, second, third or fifth round of the applications process. The amount that businesses are eligible from the grants are determined by their annual revenue — grants amounts range from $5,000 to $25,000. Applications will be accepted from April 28 to May 4 at 5:00 p.m. and notification will start being sent out on May 7.

In order to be eligible for a relief grant, businesses must meet the definition of a small business which is defined as a sole proprietor, independent contractor, 1099 work, and/or be registered as a “for-profit” or as a “small nonprofit” which has a yearly gross revenue of $2.5 million or less. They must have also been operating their business or nonprofit prior to June 1, 2019, and it must be currently operating or have a clear plan to re-open once the State of California permits re-opening of the business. The closure of the business must have been a result of COVID-19 and the health and safety restrictions such as business interruptions. Business must be able to provide organizing documents including 2019 tax returns or Form 990s, copy of official filing with the California Secretary of State, if applicable, or local municipality for the business such as one of the following: Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Organization, Fictitious Name of Registration or Government-Issued Business License Business must be able to provide acceptable form of government-issued photo ID. Applicants with multiple business entities, franchises, locations, etc. are not eligible for multiple grants and are only allowed to apply once using their eligible small business with the highest revenue.

For any business that are interested in applying for the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, the application portal can be found at careliefgrant.com, and any further questions can be answered via their call center at 888-612-4370 on Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 


Restaurant Revitalization Fund

On May 3, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will begin to accept new applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for any restaurants and other eligible businesses that are struggling to keep their doors open. For businesses that have lost revenue due to the pandemic, the fund aims to help them recoup their lost revenue which could total up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per location. Businesses will not be required to pay back the amount given as long as the funds are used according to the SBA’s guidelines. Applications will be accepted from May 3rd  to May 24th.

Businesses that will be eligible for the funds are: restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, bars, saloons, lounges, taverns, snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars, as well as any business whose onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts like; inns, bakeries brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, breweries and/or microbreweries, wineries and distilleries.

Although applications will begin on May 3, only applicates that meet the “Priority groups” requirement will have their application processed within the first 21 days of the application being open. Starting the 22 day, the fund will no longer be accepting any new applications, and any applications that did not meet the “Priority groups” requirement will then be processed. 

In order for businesses to meet the “Priority groups” definition, it must be categorized as a small business that is at least 51 % owned by one or more individuals who are: women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged. 

Based on the U.S. Small Business administration, it defines socially disadvantaged individuals as “those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities”. It also defines economically disadvantaged individuals as “those socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business area who are not socially disadvantaged.”

For any business that receives the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, funds must be used to either pay: business payroll costs including sick leave, payments on any business mortgage obligation, business rent payments (note: this does not include prepayment of rent), business debt service (both principal and interest; note: this does not include any prepayment of principal or interest), business utility payments, business maintenance expenses, construction of outdoor seating, business supplies including protective equipment and cleaning materials, business food and beverage expenses including raw materials, covered supplier costs, or business operating expenses.

For anyone who is interested in applying for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the application can be found on the sba.gov website under the “COVID-19 Relief Options” tab. 


Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

On April 26, the Small Business Administration began accepting new applications for their Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG). The portal for the application was initially meant to be accessible on April 8, but due to technical difficulties the application was moved back to a later date.

Applicants may qualify for grants that could equal 45% of their gross earned revenue, and the max that a single grant could award is $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.


To be eligible for this grant entities must have been in operation before February 29, 2020, and be labeled as: live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theater operators (including owners), or talent representatives. Any venue or promoter who received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan on or after December 27, 2020, will have the SVOG reduced by the PPP loan amount.


For any entities that receive a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, funds must be used to either pay: payroll costs, rent payments, utility payments, scheduled mortgage payments (not including prepayment of principal), scheduled debt payments (not including prepayment of principal on any indebtedness incurred in the ordinary course of business prior to February 15, 2020), worker protection expenditures, payments to independent contractors (not to exceed $100,000 in annual compensation for an individual employee of an independent contractor), other ordinary and necessary business expenses, including maintenance costs, administrative costs (including fees and licensing), state and local taxes and fees, operating leases in effect as of February 15, 2020, insurance payments, advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production (may not be the primary use of funds).

The funds may not be used to purchase any real estate, make payments on loans originated after February 15, 2020, make investments or loans, make contributions or other payments to, or on behalf of, political parties, political committees, or candidates for election, or pay for any other use prohibited by the administrator. 

For anyone who is interested in applying for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, the application can be found on the sba.gov website under the “COVID-19 Relief Options” tab. 

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