SEAL BEACH COVID-19 SMALL BUSINESS GRANT RELIEF PROGRAM – ROUND 2
On June 22nd, The Seal Beach City Council approved the Small Business Relief Grant Program providing the opportunity to deliver one-time grants to Seal Beach businesses with 30 or fewer employees. The Program will provide immediate relief to qualified local businesses that have experienced hardship due to COVID-19. The City has partnered with the Orange County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to administer this program, which is entirely funded with $562,000 of one-time federal CARES Act funds distributed to the City of Seal Beach by the Orange County Board of Supervisors’ Chairwoman Michelle Steel.
A first round of grant awarding has taken place and 68 Seal Beach small businesses received funding. A portion of the CARES Act funds remain. Thus, a second round of grants are being offered.
GRANT USES AND AMOUNTS
A limited number of grants will be awarded to qualified small businesses with 30 or fewer employees and who did not previously receive grant funding from this program. Grant funds may be used towards rent, lease, or mortgage payments, payroll, utilities, accounts payable, personal protective equipment, and other COVID-19 related operational or safety expenses.
Small businesses that meet the following criteria may apply for a grant:
Independently owned and operated
Located in Seal Beach in a commercial or industrial space
Legal business in good standing with a Seal Beach business license for 6+ months
Business with 30 full-time or equivalent employees or less
Business with $15 million annual gross revenue or less per year, over the past 3 years
NOTE: Businesses who receive funding from Round 1 are not eligible for this round of grant funding.
Priority will be given to businesses that have been operating for at least 3 years, have not received any other form of pandemic relief, represent an industry that has been severely impacted by COVID-19 (i.e. retail, restaurants, manufacturing, and personal services), or those that have not been allowed to reopen by the State.
Per Federal guidelines, applicants must also meet at least ONE of the following criteria
Deemed non-essential and forced to close during COVID-19
Sales down more than 25% over the previous 3 months
Must have laid off at least 1 part-time or full-time employee
One or more employee contracted COVID-19 while at work
A grant webinar will be provided to help small business owners better understand the grant program and the application process. The webinars will be held on Wednesday, October 28th at 11:00 AM. Please register HERE.
HOW TO APPLY
Starting October 29th at 8:00 a.m., grant applications will be available. Applications must be electronically submitted by November 6th at 5:00 p.m. and will be independently verified for eligibility by SBDC. Should the request for grants be greater than the amount of funding available, SBDC will conduct a lottery to randomly select small businesses to receive grants. We anticipate awarding the grants by the end of July.
During the application submittal period, please click the “Apply Here!” link below to be taken to an online application portal. Scroll down and enter your information directly on the webpage and hit “Submit” for your electronic submission. Simply type in your name for the signature portion; hard copy signatures are not required for this program.
(Note: this will not be operational until 8:00AM on 10/29/20)
For questions about the City’s Small Business Relief Program and application process, please contact the City of Seal Beach’s Community Development Department at (562) 431-2527. You can also view the Seal Beach Small Business Relief Grant Program Guidelines by clicking HERE.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How can I apply?
You can submit an application online by clicking the APPLY HERE button above. Applications must be submitted electronically between 8:00AM Friday October 29th and 5:00PM Friday November 6th.
How do I sign the online application?
To sign the online application, simply type your name into the signature field provided. You do not need to provide an electronic signature or signature on a printed copy.
Are applications first-come, first-served?
No, applications are not first-come, first-served. To be considered, applicants must submit their application no later than the deadline of 5:00 p.m. Friday, November 6th.
What if I am having trouble submitting my application online?
If you are having trouble submitting your application, please try again on a different internet browser – Chrome or Firefox are preferred. People using older versions of Internet Explorer may run into errors submitting their application.
How do we determine full-time vs. part-time employees?
A business is eligible if they have 30 full-time or equivalent employees or less. For this grant, we are using the method of 2 part-time employees for every full-time employee. Therefore, if a restaurant has only part-time employees, they could have a maximum of 60 part-time employees to qualify.
How is preference being given to those businesses who apply for the grants?
The Orange County Small Business Development Center is organizing the lottery process for the Seal Beach grant program, as well as for other cities they have partnered with to help administer this grant program. All eligible businesses will still be entered into the lottery and have a chance at being selected.
Why are home-based businesses being excluded from the program?
While we certainly recognize that home-based businesses have suffered losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, in light of the limited funding that we have available, the grant program was designed to help those who have been the most severely impacted. With approximately $562,000 available, the City will only have the ability to provide grants to approximately 80 businesses. Of note, there are over 1,200 eligible businesses in Seal Beach.
Given the COVID-19 situation, those businesses with physical commercial / industrial locations were more likely to be forced to shut their doors, while still needing to pay all overhead expenses for their business (including rent, mortgage, and utility costs, in addition to their own living expenses). Home-based businesses, while also impacted by COVID-19, did not have as much overhead cost exposure, and were not necessarily forced to shut down their business. Those factors are primary reasons why the City’s program was designed to focus on providing support for those businesses with physical commercial and / or industrial locations.
In addition, based on discussions with industry representatives, nearly all Orange County agencies are not providing CARES Act grant dollars to home-based businesses. However, other forms of business aid have not had this restriction on home-based businesses, including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, which are still accepting applications.
If additional funding becomes available, we will provide that information on the City’s website. Additionally, the Orange County Small Business Development Center provides one-on-one business consultation and business support free of charge. They can be reached at 1-800-616-7232, or by emailing Mike Daniel, Regional Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be able to book an appointment with the SBDC online at: https://ociesmallbusiness.org/