Richland County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program – ROUND 2
This grant is only open to businesses in Richland County, Ohio.
The Grant Application period has closed.
Click here to watch a 20 minute informational video about applying for the grant.
The Richland County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program (the “Program”) is a grant fund that previously distributed more than $700,000 and has been refunded with additional money from the County and other municipalities received through section 5001 of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (that “CARES Act”). The Program has been created by Richland County with community partners in order to assist small businesses throughout Richland County with the financial hardship imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help pay the costs of business interruption required by closures or those costs where businesses face uncertainty as to their ability to pay due to the pandemic. The below guidelines establish the businesses eligible for funding, the type of business expenses that can be paid with grant funds, the application and award process, and the process for entities to make contributions to the Program.
I. General Description of the Program
Eligible businesses will be able to receive grant funds from the program in order to assist those businesses with operating expenses incurred or paid after March 15, 2020, when the State of Ohio began the process of closing certain businesses within the State, and at which point several businesses were being affected by both mandatory and voluntary closures, cancellations, and postponements of operations, activities, and events, both in and outside of Ohio, and substantial losses in revenue and costs as a result of business interruption and broad economic impact of the pandemic. Generally, the amount of the grant per business will be a maximum of $7,500 for businesses with two to forty FTE’s and a maximum of $2,500 for businesses with less than two FTE’s. Eligibility for the grants will be tied to key criteria linked to supporting businesses that were viable prior to the pandemic, have been impacted by COVID-19, are located within Richland County, and have the potential to continue to operate following the pandemic.
Applicants must submit an application in the form attached to these guidelines to the Richland Area Chamber, which will review the same for completeness and compliance with these guidelines. The second round of funding for which applications will be taken, will commence at 9:00 am on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 and run until 11:59pm on Thursday, November 5, 2020. All complete applications submitted during that time, that are in compliance with the eligibility criteria set forth below, will be scored based on criteria reviewed by the Grant Underwriting Team. The Grant Underwriting Team will recommend the awarding of grants to businesses with completed applications generally based on the criteria set forth in Exhibit B, with the intention of awarding grants based on the following: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operation and success of the business, the likelihood of the business’s future success, the number of job opportunities preserved for Richland County businesses, the location of the business and the contribution of the business to equity and the diversity of small businesses and small business owners in Richland County. The Richland Area Chamber will announce the award of grant funds on Monday, November 16, 2020, and will begin distributing grant funds the following week, unless funding from a funder for that particular grant is received by the Richland Area Chamber later than that week (the Richland Area Chamber will advise accordingly).
All grants made under the Program are being made with the intention to provide immediate funding to small businesses to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures, to assist with the payment of costs where the business faces uncertainty as to its ability to pay due to the pandemic, to keep as many small businesses in Richland County operating as possible, and to retain as many jobs for Richland County residents as possible in light of the severe economic hardships brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. All contributions of funds to the Program are made for the purpose of furthering economic development, preserving employment opportunities for Richland County residents, and preserving the operations of Richland County’s small businesses during a time of need and emergency. The primary objective of the Program is to minimize long-term economic hardship to Richland County residents and businesses that may result from the COVID-19 pandemic.
II. Eligibility Criteria
A. To be eligible for grant funds under the Program, Richland County businesses must meet the following requirements, as of March 15, 2020 (for purposes of this section the phrase “the business” is understood to also mean the eligible non-profit types as noted below):
- The business must operate for profit, or be a 501c4, 501c6, 501c7, 501c19, or 501c23 non-profit. (Business that are for-profit generally file an IRS Form 1040 with a Schedule-C, 1040-SR with a Schedule-C, 1065, 1120 or 1120-S. The non-profits would file an IRS Form 990.)
- 2019 Revenue not to exceed $4,000,000.
- The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation (both S and C), professional association, limited liability company, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership. If a corporation, professional association, limited liability company, limited partnership or limited liability partnership, the business must be registered with the Ohio Secretary of State to do business in the State of Ohio. If a sole proprietorship, the business shall provide documentation of its existence as a business, including, but not limited to income tax returns for the business, trade name registrations, business banking or credit accounts, or similar documents. If a partnership, the business shall either be registered with the Ohio Secretary of State to do business in the State of Ohio, or, if not registered, shall provide documentation similar to that required for a sole proprietorship. The eligible non-profit corporations must be registered with the Ohio Secretary of State.
- The business, or headquarters for the business, must be located within Richland County. A sole proprietor with a legal business address that is outside Richland County, but who primarily operates out of a physical location within Richland County will be considered eligible.
- The business must have been in operation by February 28, 2020, which, at a minimum, may be evidenced by a filing on or before that time, of documents with the Ohio Secretary of State incorporating or organizing the business or evidencing operation of the business prior to that time. Absent those filings, business bank account documentation, business tax documentation, credit accounts or other documentation acceptable to the Chamber in its sole discretion as evidence of operations will be required.
- The business must not be permanently closed and must intend to continue its business operations following the COVID-19 pandemic.
- To be eligible for a grant in an amount of up to $7,500, the business must employ a minimum of two FTE’s and a maximum of 40 FTE’s. FTE’s for the purpose of this grant will be counted as one FTE per full time employee and one-half FTE per part time employee. Businesses that employ less than two FTE’s will be eligible for grants of up to $2,500. For purposes of this criteria, “employee” shall mean an individual who (i) is employed as an employee who regularly works at least 20 hours per week and who is provided an IRS Form W-2 at the end of each calendar year, (ii) is independently contracted with the business, regularly works at least 20 hours per week and who receives an IRS Form 1099 at the end of each calendar year, or (iii) the principal owner(s) of the business, the sole proprietor, or partners, whichever is applicable, provided, however, that the principal owners, sole proprietor or partners actively work in the business.
- The business must not be in receivership or bankruptcy.
- All businesses will be required to provide the businesses’ federal employer identification number, or, if the business does not have a federal employer identification number, the social security number under which the business operates.
B. The businesses shall not be one of the following, regardless of its general eligibility under subsection (A), above:
- Any business operating as a sexually oriented business as that term is defined in Section 2907.40 of the Ohio Revised Code
- Any business operating as an entertainment device or skill game arcade.
- Any financial institution that makes loans or issues credit to the public, including, but not limited to, banks, credit unions, payday lenders, or any other similar business.
- A business that received funding from an earlier round of the Richland County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program.
III. Eligible expenses
- Unless excepted below, all expenses of the business that related to the costs of business interruption caused by required closures, or for which the business faces uncertainty as to its ability to pay due to the pandemic, and that are deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code may be paid for with grant funds from the Program. Expenses must be incurred between March 15, 2020 and December 11, 2020. Examples of eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Mortgage payments for the business’s principal place of business or such other business location in Richland County. Mortgage payments for businesses that are located in an owner’s primary residence are not eligible.
- Rent payments for the business’s principal place of business or such other business location in Richland County. Rent payments for businesses that are located in an owner’s primary residence are not eligible.
- Utility payments – electric, gas, sewer, water, trash removal – for the business’s principal place of business or such other business location in Richland County. Utility payments for businesses that are located in an owner’s primary residence are not eligible.
- Health, property and casualty and liability insurance payments.
- Vehicle and equipment lease or rental payments for vehicles and equipment leased on or prior to March 15, 2020.
- Salaries or wages of all employees employed by the business.
- Such other costs related to interruption of the business caused by required closures, including the closure of the business’s suppliers and/or customers.
B. Additionally, any sole proprietor may use grant funds from the Program to replace a portion of its lost revenue, as follows:
If the sole proprietor filed IRS Form 1040 and Schedule C thereto for tax year 2019, or, if the event the sole proprietor has not filed IRS Form 1040 for tax year 2019, but has filed IRS Form 1040 and Schedule C thereto for tax year 2018, then the sole proprietor can use the grant funds to pay the sole proprietor the equivalent of up to 1/6 of the net profit reported by the sole proprietor on line 31 of the applicable Schedule C.
C. Each applicant for funds will include in its application to the Richland Area Chamber an itemization of the expenses it intends to pay with the grant funds, which will be reviewed for compliance with the eligible expenses set forth in Section III (A), above. Following the expenditure of all grant funds, the business shall provide a listing to the Richland Area Chamber of all business expenses paid using the grant funds along with supporting documentation. Documentation will be in the form of cancelled checks, paid invoices, bank statements, or similar documents evidencing payment. The listing of business expenses paid and accompanying documentation shall be submitted to the Richland Area Chamber no later than December 21, 2020 following the receipt of grant funds by the business.
D. All expenses reported to the Richland Area Chamber as paid using Program funds must either be incurred by the business or paid by the business between March 15, 2020, and December 11th, 2020. No grant funds may be used to pay for vehicles or equipment leased or purchased after March 15, 2020 (this prohibition is not intended to apply to inventory of the business). No Program Grant Funds may be used to repay expenses that were also claimed as part of other CARES Act funding programs – such as the Paycheck Protection Program; nor anything else reimbursable by the federal government.
E. The eligible expenses set forth above constitute, to the best of the County of Richland, the City of Mansfield, and Chamber’s knowledge and understanding, eligible expenses for which funds can be used under Section 5001 of the CARES Act, and the business cannot use grant funds it receives for purposes other than those set forth above.
What changed for Round 2?
We have changed some guidelines for eligibility:
- Amount of employees now goes up to 40 FTE’s
- Revenue cap is increased to $4,000,000
- Business must have been formed prior to February 28, 2020
- We have allowed certain types of non-profits to apply (501c4, 501c6, 501c7, 501c19, 501c23)
- We removed the real estate holding corporation limitation.
- We removed the passive income limitation.
- We removed the “must be the main income” for a sole proprietor.
- We removed the restriction on primarily tobacco based businesses
- Click here for full guidelines
Where do I apply?
The application period opens Wednesday, October 28th at 9:00am and you will find the link here after that time. You can apply via your computer or even on your smart phone. If circumstances prevent you from applying online please email email@example.com or call the Richland Area Chamber for assistance at 419-522-3211.
Why are there two award amounts? $2,500 and $7,500?
Businesses that have less than 2 FTE’s will qualify for $2,500 maximum grant. Businesses with 2-20 FTE’s will qualify for a $7,500 maximum grant. We want to be sure that “one person firms” are competing for funding with like companies. Funds have been set aside for their benefit. As such, they will be evaluated separately and in comparison with other one-person firms.
What is an FTE?
An FTE is a full-time equivalent employee. For purpose of this grant a part-time employee counts as 1/2 FTE, a full-time counts as 1 FTE. For purposes of this criteria, “employee” shall mean an individual who
- is employed as an employee who regularly works at least 20 hours per week and who is provided an IRS Form W-2 at the end of each calendar year,
- is independently contracted with the business, regularly works at least 20 hours per week and who receives an IRS Form 1099 at the end of each calendar year, or
- the principal owner(s) of the business, the sole proprietor, or partners, whichever is applicable, provided, however, that the principal owners, sole proprietor or partners actively work in the business.
What is the scoring criteria?
Once businesses are deemed eligible for the program, they are evaluated based on four types of criteria.
Business Profile. This includes their length of time in business and the years of experience of the owner. This helps us understand a business’s depth of history and experience to weather the storm.
Business Financial Impact. We look at the financial impact of COVID19 on the business as a percentage of their 2019 operating revenue which helps us understand the financial impact on the business’ operations.
Business Employment Impact. We look at number of FTE’s help us evaluate how the resources will support ongoing employment for the County. (only applies to businesses with employees)
Sector and Community Economic Impact. We look at whether the business is in a JobsOhio designated distressed zip code; whether it is in an industry sector vulnerable to COVID-19 and whether the business is a disadvantaged business enterprise.
Do non-profits qualify for a grant?
Certain types of non-profits qualify for this grant – 501c4, 501c6, 501c7, 501c19, and 501c23. (Please note: when you see questions asking about ‘the owner’ please give your Executive Director’s information).
We are planning a special round of applications for 501c3 – we expect that to open just shortly after this one. Watch this page for more.
How are you advertising this opportunity?
We’ve sent out press releases, emails, and posted information on our website. We’ll be doing interviews with local media and also post updates on social media.
I have questions about or need help with the application, what should I do?
We have set up a dedicated email address at firstname.lastname@example.org or you are welcome to call the Chamber office for guidance at 419-522-3211. We are holding five informational sessions about the program –
Where did the funding come from for this program?
Richland County received federal funding through the CARES Act. The Richland County Commissioners have opted to utilize some of this funding towards a grant program supporting small businesses in Richland County and have utilized the Chamber to facilitate the program. Unfortunately, it is unlikely we will be unable to fund all of the qualified applications we receive.
Will everyone who applies receive a grant?
We expect a high volume of applications and have a limited amount of funds to disperse so it is very unlikely that every business will receive a grant. However, additional funding may become available so we encourage you to apply. If additional funds become available, we will continue to use the list of eligible applicants that is generated during this second round of applications.
How long will the application take to fill out?
We would recommend planning about 20 minutes to fill out the application. If you click the application link, you can see the information you should gather to assist you in filling it out right on the first page. We cannot guarantee that the application will save your information if you do not complete it all at once so we recommend that you take the time to be prepared.
Are franchisees or national chains eligible to receive a grant?
Many national brands are operated by local, small business franchisees who are independent business owners. Local, independent owners with franchise businesses are eligible and will be assessed against the same eligibility criteria as other applicants. National chains with corporate ownership are not eligible unless there are primary operations headquartered in Richland County.
What if my City/Village hasn’t committed money yet? Should I apply now?
YES! There is only one application period for the grant. The money given by Richland County applies countywide. Do not wait. There are no further planned application periods. Apply before November 5, 2020 at 11:59pm.
Do I have to be a Chamber Member to apply?
No, you do not. Further, Chamber membership plays no role in the scoring critieria. All Richland County businesses are encouraged to apply.
Wednesday, October 28th @ 2:00pm via Zoom – Register here
Thursday, October 29th @ 9:00am via Zoom – Register here
Friday, October 30th @ 2:00pm via Zoom – Register here
Monday, November 2nd @ 1:00pm via Zoom – Register here
Wednesday, November 4th @ 10:00am via Zoom – Register here