Massachusetts Continues to Offer COVID-19 Relief Grants to Small Businesses in the Commonwealth

Posted by Nino Visconti on Mar 1, 2022 4:36:24 PM
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From its share of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made a total of $75,000,000 available to support small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will be administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) through two different grant programs, the New Applicant Grant Program and the Inclusive Grant Program.

New Applicant Grant Program

This program provides $25,000,000 in grant assistance to support small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 that had not previously received financial relief from MGCC’s COVID-19 Relief Grant Program initially launched in 2020.

To be eligible, for the New Applicant Grant Program a small business:

  • Must not have previously received financial relief from MGCC’s prior COVID-19 Relief Grant Program;
  • Did not qualify for previous grants due to a lack of revenue loss in calendar year 2020;
  • Must be Massachusetts-based and operating in-state;
  • Must have been negatively impacted by the pandemic;
  • Must be a for-profit entity owned by individuals;
  • Must currently have between 2-50 full time equivalent employees, including the owner;
  • Must have a minimum of $40,000 in operating expenses based on 2020 federal business tax returns;
  • Must have revenue between $40,000-$2,500,000 based on 2020 federal business tax return;
  • Must currently be in operation;
  • Must have been established prior to September 30, 2020; and
  • Must be in good standing and current with federal, state, and city/town, taxes and licensures, as applicable

Inclusive Grant Program

This program provides up to $50,000,000 to small businesses that focus on reaching markets predominantly made up of socially and economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented groups, underserved markets, and those owned by minorities, women, veterans, disabled individuals, or those that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Inclusive Grant Program has the same eligibility requirements as the New Applicant Grant Program, PLUS the business must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Minority-owned;
  • Woman-owned;
  • Veteran-owned;
  • Disability-owned;
  • LGBTQ+-owned; or
  • Focus on reaching markets predominantly made up of socially and economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented groups or underserved markets

Timeline, Grant Amounts & Fund Use

Both programs follow the same timeline, with an application window from February 23, 2022 at 12:00 am through April 4, 2022 at 11:59 pm.

Both programs will award grants ranging from $10,000 to $75,000. Grants will be capped at the lesser of 3 months of annualized operating expenses, determined from 2020 federal tax returns, or $75,000.

In both programs, funds may be used for:

  • Employee payroll and benefits costs
  • Costs to retain employees
  • Business mortgage, rent and utilities
  • Interest on other debt obligations incurred after March 3, 2021
  • Costs to pivot the company due to the COVID-10 pandemic

Under both programs, funds may NOT be used for:

  • Purchase of real property
  • Construction activities
  • Lobbying
  • Depositing funds into any pension fund
  • Rainy day fund, financial services, or similar
  • Debt incurred prior to March 3, 2021
  • Satisfaction of any obligation arising under or pursuant to a settlement agreement, judgement, consent decree, or judicially confirmed debt restructuring plan in a judicial, administrative, or regulatory proceeding, except those that require the provision of services that would respond to COVID public health emergency
  • Uses that bear no relation to the harm experienced by the public health crisis or are grossly disproportionate to the type or extent of harm
  • Additionally, grantees must prevent the duplication of benefits (grant funds may not be used to pay expenses if another source of financial aid has paid that same expense)

Application Process and Required Documentation

Applications are available online for both the New Application Grant Program and the Inclusive Grant Program.

Additionally, the following documents are required by applicants of both programs:

  • 2020 Federal Business & Personal Tax Returns
    • Social security numbers and EIN numbers must be fully visible on documents
  • IRS W-9 Form
    • Completed and signed IRS W-9 form for your business
    • You must fill out a new W-9 form for MGCC from irs.gov
    • Must provide info for boxes 1,2,3,5,6, Part I and Part II on W-9 form
  • Certificate of Good Standing
    • Required if your business is an LLC, Partnership (except General Partnership) or Corp
    • All entities organized in other states that operate in Massachusetts must be registered and in good standing in MA
    • Requests for a Certificate of Good Standing may take up to 2+ weeks to receive
  • Business certificate
    • A copy of your unexpired Business Certificate from the city/town in which your business operates
    • Required if your business is a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership
    • If you need to request a Business Certificate, visit your town/city hall website
  • Photo ID
    • A valid and not expired copy of the business owner’s photo ID (accepted IDs include state-issued driver’s license/ID card or US Passport book/card)
  • If applicable, payment plan(s): Federal, state and/or local business and/or personal taxes

Additional information on these grant programs is available on the MGCC website. If you have questions on these or other COVID-19 relief programs, leave a comment below or feel free to contact me directly, I’m happy to help.

Topics: Business Advisory, COVID-19, Small Business