The City of Austin is no longer accepting applications for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant. The deadline for submission expired on July 24, 2020 at 8:00pm. 

We are in the process of reviewing all applications submitted, and are exploring how we can use additional federal and local funds to offer assistance for small businesses, start-up companies, entrepreneurs, creatives, and non-profit organizations.  

Find helpful resources:  

  • City of Austin's ATXRecovers.com - A one-stop resource to help businesses and individuals recover from the financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Find resources related to funding, unemployment assistance, legal aid, consulting help, and more.  

  • Economic Development Department’s Small Business Resources Directory - Database of local, state, federal, and community resources. Filter by “Disaster Relief” to find immediate support for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

View larger version of Program Metrics

 


The Austin City Council approved Resolution No. 20200507-023 on May 7, 2020 to provide $10 million for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant. The City Council approved an additional $6.5 million for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant in Resolution No. 20200604-040 on June 4, 2020. 

Applicants may apply for up to $40,000 toward their business needs including rent, payroll and other economic needs.  

Eligible local businesses must be able to demonstrate an economic loss associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic and must be headquartered in a City of Austin Council district.  

The Austin Small Business Relief Grant application will be live and accepting eligible submissions through the Austin Better Business Bureau starting on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

 

Contact Information

Email: businessreliefgrant@austin.bbb.org

Call: 512-318-2683
 

Scoring

Every application will be evaluated against a scoring matrix that includes criteria for need, vulnerability, and equity. For distribution of funds, 50% of the program funding will be allocated to applicants that score the highest according to this matrix. The remaining 50% of funds will be awarded by random lottery among eligible applicants. Businesses owned by members of historically marginalized communities are especially encouraged to apply.

 

Application Scoring Matrix

Category
Criteria
Available Points
Equity
  • Race/Ethnicity of Ownership
  • Gender of Ownership
  • Low- to Moderate Income Location
15
Business Scale
  • Number of Employees (FTEs)
  • Annual Revenues
  • Years in Operation
15
Urgency
  • COVID-19 Response
  • Ability to operate during Stay at Home Orders
  • Working Capital Reserves
  • Likely impact of not receiving grant 
20

 

Application Assistance

The Economic Development Department has partnered with additional local community organizations to help promote and provide technical assistance to potential applicants of the Austin Small Business Relief Grant and assist applicants with their applications. These efforts will ensure the most vulnerable businesses and non-profit organizations are aware of the grant opportunities and receive assistance to apply. 

Community Champions to support the Austin Small Business Relief Grant include:  

Recorded Informational Webinars

A summary of applicant questions from webinars has been complied into a Question Summary. Additional questions not addressed in the summary can be found in the FAQ section of this webpage. For immediate questions specific to your application please contact the Better Business by email at businessreliefgrant@austin.bbb.org or by phone at 512-318-2683

Eligible Applicants

Eligible business applicants will meet the following conditions:  

  • Business able to demonstrate an economic loss associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic 
     
  • Business with 25 full-time equivalent employees or fewer as of March 1, 2020
     
  • Business with under $5 million in annual revenues  
     
  • Business has been in continuous operation for at least 2 years 
     
  • Business organized as partnerships, sole proprietorships, LLCs, cooperatives, or other business structures  
     
  • Business able to provide one (1) year of federal income tax returns  
     
  • Business headquartered in a City of Austin Council District

 

Updated Eligibility for Clarification on July 7, 2020

Ineligible Applicants
  • Businesses not headquartered in a City of Austin Council District  
     
  • Businesses with over 25 full-time equivalent employees or fewer as of March 1, 2020
     
  • Businesses with over $5 million in annual revenues
     
  • Businesses debarred from contracting with the federal government
     
  • Businesses without an Employer Identification Number
     
  • Businesses engaged in multi-level marketing
     
  • Businesses that derive more than a third of their annual revenue from gambling activities
     
  • Businesses engaged in lobbying
     
  • Houses of worship or religious institutions
     
  • Government entities
     
  • Nonprofits
     
  • Individuals
     
  • Full time, permanent City of Austin employees are ineligible to receive these funds 

 

Updated Ineligibility for Clarification on July 7, 2020

Required Documentation

Required Documentation

Subvención de Ayuda para Pequeñas Empresas de Austin Lista de documentos requeridos

所需文件清单所需文件清單Danh Sách Đánh Dấu các Chứng Từ Bắt Buộc | القائمة المرجعية للمستندات المطلوبة
 

  • Documentation of expenses eligible for reimbursement 
     
  • Current Balance Sheet & Profit & Loss Statement 
     
  • Payroll record (to document number of employees) (Sample)
     
  • 2018 and/or 2019 Federal Income tax return
     
  • Registration with the Secretary of State or County Clerk 
Expenses: Eligible and Ineligible

Grant amounts for businesses that receive awards will be calculated based upon a business’ ability to document expenses eligible for reimbursement between March 1, 2020 and July 7, 2020. Successful applicants may receive up to $40,000 by documenting expenditures made in the categories that follow.  

Eligible Expenses  

  • Payroll, Employee Retention   
     
  • Rent/Mortgage for Business Property  incurred between March 1, 2020 and July 7, 2020
     
  • COVID-Compliance Facility Modifications   
     
  • Personal Protective Equipment Purchases/Rentals/Plastic Shielding 
     
  • Sanitation/Cleaning  
     
  • Business Personal Property for Existing Businesses 
     
  • Inventory   
     
  • Business Insurance   
     
  • Technology   
     
  • Worker Training   
     
  • Business response and adaptation to pandemic conditions 
     
  • Modifications to business site or operations to support enhanced public health and safety standards
  • Operational Costs

 

Ineligible Expenses 

  • Lost sales, donations or sponsorships  
     
  • Merchandise for sale for marketing purposes 
     
  • Costs incurred prior to March 1, 2020
     
  • Costs that have also been paid for by other COVID-19 grants/loans

 

Frequently Asked Questions

A summary of applicant questions from webinars has been complied into a Question Summary. Additional questions not addressed in the summary can be found in the FAQ section of this webpage. For immediate questions specific to your application please contact the Better Business by email at businessreliefgrant@austin.bbb.org or by phone at 512-318-2683

Can landlords apply to the Austin Small Business Relief Grant?

Landlords organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, cooperatives, or other business structures may apply if they meet other eligibility criteria. Landlords applying as a sole proprietor must submit a Schedule C or other tax records demonstrating that they meet eligibility requirements. Additionally, sole proprietors must submit their DBA or proof of application for a DBA, which can be found at the Travis County Clerk website. Sole proprietors can contact the Economic Development Department's Small Business Program at (512) 974-7800 or SmallBiz@austintexas.gov for assistance applying for a DBA. 

Is the Austin Small Business Relief Grant a grant? 

Yes, this program offers grants to reimburse eligible expenses incurred between March 1st and July 7, 2020.

Do I need to repay the dollars received through the Austin Small Business Relief Grant?

No. This is a grant program with no expectation of repayment. 

If my business is eligible for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant, will I be guaranteed to receive grant funds? 

No. There is limited funding for grants. Only a limited number of grants are available. 

If my grant application is approved, what are the next steps? 

All applicants will receive follow up correspondence from the Austin Better Business Bureau as their applications are processed. Successful applicants will be contacted by email with instructions regarding how to receive their funds. 

How will I receive funds if I am approved for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant? 

The Better Business Bureau will make all efforts to send funds within 10 business days following the closing of the application window on July 24. Factors that might affect this timeline include the volume of grants being processed.

Are early applications given any priority in funding allocations? 

No. The application window is between July 7, 2020 and July 24, 2020. Applicants may submit their application at any point during this window. No preference will be given to applications submitted earlier in the window. 

Is this application available in multiple languages?  

Yes. This application is available in English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Arabic, and Vietnamese. All language versions of the application are available at the top of this page underneath the English application link.

Can applicants apply on behalf of multiple businesses?  

No. If an individual owns multiple businesses, they are eligible to apply on behalf of only one business.

If I applied for an Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan, am I eligible to apply for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant? 

Yes. All Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan applicants are eligible to apply for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant. If an applicant has received Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan funding, the applicant is eligible to apply for the difference between the $40,000 ceiling for Austin Small Business Relief Grants, and the amount of funding received through the Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan.

If I received Federal support through the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and I still eligible to apply for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant? 

 Yes. Recipients of PPP or EIDL are still eligible to apply. However, because the source of funds for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant is the Federal CARES Act, any expenses paid for with PPP or EIDL funds are not eligible for reimbursement under the Austin Small Business Relief Grant. 

What documentation of eligible expenditures is valid as part of my application? 

Reviewers will evaluate expense documentation on a case by case basis. Generally speaking, expenses should be documented with receipts, invoices, agreements (e.g., lease agreements), and similar records. Documentation totals should match total expense reimbursements requested in the Eligible Expense Worksheet.

How many employees (full-time equivalents) did your business have on March 1, 2020? 

Businesses with more than 25 full-time equivalents (FTEs) are ineligible for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant. Part-time employees should be counted as 0.5 FTE each.

What are the date ranges for expenses eligible for reimbursement? 

Eligible expenses that were paid between March 1, 2020 and July 7, 2020 can be considered for reimbursement. 

Are applicants for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant required to apply for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan? 

No. Applicants for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant are not required to apply for an SBA  Economic Injury Disaster Loan.  

Can I still request reimbursement for rent or mortgage payments if they were deferred?

If a business can document that a rent or mortgage payment that would have been due between March 1, 2020 and July 7, 2020 has been deferred but is still due on a date after July 7, that rent or mortgage payment is eligible for reimbursement. Rent or mortgage payments from March 1 to July 7 that have been forgiven and are not required to be paid at a future date are not eligible for reimbursement.

Is a narrative required by the applicant to document and describe losses?

A narrative to describe losses is not a required piece of documentation.Documentation of eligible expenses for reimbursement will be evaluated based on eligible receipts. If additional information is needed the Better Business Bureau will contract the applicant within 10 business days of application submission.

Is interest accrued on loan payments an eligible reimbursable expense?

Interest as a component of a mortgage payment is an eligible expense for reimbursement. Interest payments on general debt is not an allowable expense. Residential mortgage is not eligible.

What will the Better Business Bureau do with my information?

The City of Austin contract with Better Business Bureau requires not to disclose or use application data and retain confidentiality of the application data.

The application asks specific questions about the applicant's demographics. Please provide clarity.

Demographics reported on the application should be for the person completing the application for the business.

When will an applicant receive an approval or denial letter of grant funds?

All applicants will receive approval or denial correspondence after July 24, 2020. During the application period, if more information is needed from an applicant BBB will contact an application within 10 business days to retrieve more information.

Do you need to be an accredited organization or business with the BBB?

Being an accredited organization or business with the Better Business Bureau is not an eligibility requirement.

What types of businesses are eligible to apply?

Business organized as partnerships, sole proprietorships, LLCs, cooperatives, or other business structures.

Is there a Business Location eligibility (ie outside Austin)?

Business must be headquartered in a City of Austin Council District. Businesses headquartered in the Austin Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) but not in a City of Austin Council District are not eligible.

What are eligible expenses under technology?

Eligible technology expenses may include any technology purchases as a result of COVID 19 to retain or modify operations. Additionally items such as  software, subscriptions, personal property and technology equipment are eligible expenses.

Can an application be resubmitted via the online portal or through BBB?
 

Once an application is submitted, Better Business Bureau will review the application documentation for completeness and notify the applicant within 10 business days if additional information is needed. If additional documentation is required, BBB will re-open the application and allow an applicant to edit. In all other cases, submitted applications can not be edited.

What category should utilities fall into with regards to the eligible expense worksheet?
  • Business:  Operational Costs

If a business event was scheduled between March 1, 2020 and July 7, 2020, what documentation may be submitted for reimbursement?

Such expenses may include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. Deposits on venue or equipment rental
  2.  Wages, salaries, or contractor fees
  3.  Inventory, merchandise, or services purchased in association with events
Can a business list their social security number if they do not have an EIN number?
Yes, if a business does not have an EIN, they may provide their SSN.
Should a business include revenue before or after taxes?

For application purposes revenue refers to gross revenue, before taxes, cost of goods, payroll, and other expenses are removed.

If a business does not have a commercial space, and is a home-based business, is the residential rent or mortgage an eligible expense?

Home-based businesses that meet all eligibility criteria are eligible to apply. However, residential rent and mortgages are not eligible expenses for reimbursement.

Is a Sole Proprietorship that has filed their business taxes along with their personal taxes required to submit their full tax report or can they submit a Form 1040 (Schedule C)?

A Schedule C is acceptable documentation.

If a company’s two years of continuous operation falls within the timeline for reimbursement (March 1st – July 24th), would they still qualify? Or would their two year “anniversary” have to be before March 1st?

A business must have been continuous for at least two years minimum as of March 1, 2020.

What is required for Registration w/ the Secretary of State or County Clerk?  If it is a copy of my DBA, I cannot seem to find mine.  Is there a way that I can download it?

You can download a copy of your Registration information at this website: https://mycpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/

 Can an application be resubmitted via the online portal or through BBB?

Once an application is submitted, Better Business Bureau will review the application documentation for completeness and notify the applicant within 10 business days if additional information is needed. If additional documentation is required, BBB will re-open the application and allow an applicant to edit. In all other cases, submitted applications can not be edited.

Does a sole proprietor need to file a DBA or certificate of formation to be eligible for this grant?

A DBA, Certificate of Formation, or Article of Incorporation must be submitted along with this grant. If a sole proprietor’s tax records demonstrate that they meet other eligibility requirements, then they can submit proof of application for a DBA from the County even if that application was made after July 7th, 2020. You can apply for a DBA through Travis County at this website: https://countyclerk.traviscountytx.gov/recording/assumed-name-certificates-dbas.html

What documentation can an organization provide to document payroll?

Please refer to the Payroll Records Overview linked here.

If an applicant has no payroll record as of March 1, 2020 because the business only has one employee (i.e., themselves) – what should they be entering in that required supplemental documentation field within the application (Question #39)?

Sole proprietorships with only one staffperson (i.e., the owner) should enter that they have one employee and reflect this in a statement of payroll record. Please see the Payroll Records Sample linked above.