For the millions of small businesses looking for resources to weather the coronavirus storm, it can be a challenge to know where to even begin. At this point, you’ve hopefully had a chance to develop your organization’s plan to stay afloat, as well as learn more about the financial resources available for your small business.

 

Despite potential relief via the CARES Act, small business owners may be wondering where else they can turn for a grant or some additional interest-free funding. Many private organizations, as well as local governments, have developed relief programs to aid the small businesses that call their city or state home. Here is a roundup of some of the more prominent grant programs available:

 

 

Facebook: Small Business Grants Program

Facebook has set aside $100 million in the form of cash grants for small businesses in need. They are also offering ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in 30 countries where they operate. Facebook’s hope is that these ad credits allow smaller organizations to continue reaching their customer base without having to worry about the funding.

 

As of this article’s publication, Facebook is still working through the details of the program and has not yet made an application available. You can visit the program’s website to sign up for alerts.

 

 

Intuit QuickBooks and GoFundMe: Small Business Relief Initiative

Intuit QuickBooks has partnered with crowdfunding leader GoFundMe and reviews website Yelp to start a match program through private and employee-directed contributions. Here’s how it works:

  1. Start a GoFundMe campaign through the QuickBooks initiative to help raise money needed to pay employees, rent, or other COVID-impacted expenses.
  2. Solicit donations from customers, neighbors, friends, or anyone else who would be willing to contribute to its cause.
  3. Once the business raises at least $500, the fund will match it by donating an additional $500 to the organization’s cause.

 

Local businesses are pillars in their community, always there to help their neighbors and customers when needed. Now that the situation is reversed, most customers would be glad to donate a few dollars to ensure their favorite restaurant, barber shop, or clothing boutique is still there when normalcy returns. Promoting a GoFundMe campaign through social media platforms and other customer touchpoints such as email or text messages can be an effective way to raise private funds quickly.

 

 

Google Ad Credits

Like Facebook, Google realizes it’s more important now than ever for its small business clients to reach their customers and let them know about changing hours, a new take-out or delivery menu, a special offer, or a disruption in service. To that end, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a $340 million initiative to give Google Ad credits to any small business with an active account over the past year. The credit automatically appears in qualifying businesses’ accounts and can be used any time through the end of 2020.

 

 

Yelp

In addition to their partnership with GoFundMe and Intuit, Yelp has also developed their own relief package for users, valued at $25 million. The program has a few different components:

  • All fees incurred for Yelp Ads delivered from 3/16/20-3/31/20 have been waived.
  • For any business who has indicated on their Yelp page that they offer take out or delivery, Yelp will set up a $100 ad campaign free of charge, to run in April.
  • All paid features or upgrades active on businesses’ accounts will be free through at least April 30.
  • Use of free premium features for restaurant or nightlife businesses through at least April 30.

 

 

James Beard Relief Fund

Restaurants have been hit particularly hard during this time, so the James Beard Foundation has established a relief fund. Corporate, foundation, and individual donors can contribute to the fund, which in turn will provide microgrants to independent food and beverage businesses in need. To make a donation or apply for the program, click here.

 

 

Amazon’s Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund

For businesses local to the Seattle area, Amazon is pledging $5 million dollars in the form of cash grants. To qualify, the organization must have fewer than 50 employees or generate less than $7 million in annual revenue.

 

 

Verizon and LISC: Small Business Recovery Fund

Verizon has donated $2.5 million to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), who will use that money to offer grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps. Priority will be given to applicants who are entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses, or are part of an enterprise in historically under-served places without access to flexible, affordable capital.

 

 

Local Grant Opportunities

Almost every major city and state has set up some sort of fund to provide grants, no- or low-interest emergency loans, and other means of financial support. A quick Google search can return a multitude of options in your area. Here are just a couple examples of free, no obligation grants that local governments have undertaken:

  • New York City: The Employee Retention Grant Program is providing funds to select businesses to cover up to 40% of their payroll (up to $27,000) for two months. To qualify, the business must have four employees or fewer and have experienced at least a 25% drop in revenue.
  • Denver, Colorado: The Small Business Emergency Relief Fund is giving grants of up to $7,500 to local businesses in particularly hard-hit industries.
  • State of Michigan: The Small Business Relief Program Fund is offering grants of up to $10,000 to local organizations of fewer than 50 employees.

 

 

A final note

Grant programs like the above illustrate just how important small businesses are to our nation’s economy, and especially to the neighborhoods they call home. It’s inspiring to see so many organizations donate or set up programs to keep smaller organizations running in this time of need. As you review your options for grants and private funding, keep in mind that these funds receive an overwhelming number of requests. Make sure to get your application in quickly, and if there are any open-ended questions, be as specific as possible with your answers to show just how you will use the money. Good luck!