Richland County/Mansfield COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program
The grant application period has ended.
This grant is only open to businesses in Richland County, Ohio.
Click here to watch a 20 minute informational video about applying for the grant.
The Richland County/Mansfield COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program is a grant fund that and has been established to grant funds the County, the City of Mansfield, Ohio and other municipalities received through the “CARES Act”. The Program has been created by Richland County, Ohio and the City of Mansfield, Ohio with community partners in order to assist small businesses throughout Richland County/Mansfield 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 twenty FTE’s and a maximum of $2,500 for businesses with less than two employees, provided, however, that any funders to the Program may request that the funds it contributes be used to fund grants in excess of the $7,500 cap. 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 first round of funding for which applications will be taken, will commence at 9:00 am on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 and run until 11:59pm on Sunday, September 13, 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, September 28, 2020, and will begin distributing grant funds that 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/Mansfield operating as possible, and to retain as many jobs for Richland County/Mansfield 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/Mansfield residents, and preserving the operations of Richland County/Mansfield’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/Mansfield 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:
- The business must operate for profit. Non-profit entities of any type are not eligible. (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.)
- 2019 Revenue not to exceed $1,500,000.
- 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 business, or headquarters for the business, must be located within Richland County.
- The business must have been in operation 12 months prior to launch of grant program (for this purpose that is considered to be September 1, 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.
- 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 employees and a maximum of 20 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 one employee 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 need not be included in the number of employees if it would cause the business to exceed the maximum number of individuals employed.
– The business must not be in receivership or bankruptcy.
– The business must be current on all Richland County and municipal income tax obligations and Richland County property tax obligations. 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.
- The business must be the primary source of income for business owners with less than 2 FTE’s.
B. The businesses shall not be one of the following, regardless of its general eligibility under subsection (A), above:
– Any business operating as an entertainment device or skill game arcade.
– Any business operating as a sexually oriented business as that term is defined in Section 2907.40 of the Ohio Revised Code.
- Any business that primarily sells tobacco products, cigarettes, electronic smoking devices, or vapor products as those terms are defined in Section 2927.02 of the Ohio Revised Code.
- 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.
- Any pass-through entities or real estate holding companies.
III. Eligible expenses
- Unless excepted below, all expenses of the business that related to the costs of business interruption caused by required closures or that 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. 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 15, 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 November 30, 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).
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.
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 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?
They are not eligible to apply for this grant opportunity. The program only applies to for-profit businesses.
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 two informational sessions about the program – Thursday, September 3rd at 9:00am (register here) and Friday, September 4th at 12:00pm (register here).
Where did the funding come from for this program?
Richland County and the City of Mansfield received federal funding through the CARES Act. The Richland County Commissioners and the City of Mansfield have opted to utilize some of this funding towards a grant program supporting small businesses in Richland County/Mansfield and have utilized the Chamber to facilitate the program. Some other municipalities have shown interest in contributing to the program. Should they opt in, it is possible more applications could be processed and awarded funding. Unfortunately, it is likely 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 even if you do not receive funding in the first round. If additional funds become available, we will continue to use the list of eligible applicants that is generated during this 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. Additional funding may come from other municipalities but you should apply now. The money given by Richland County applies countywide. Do not wait. There are no further planned application periods. Apply before September 13, 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.