COVID-19 / Funding / Small businesses

Here’s how to apply for DC’s microgrant program for small businesses affected by COVID-19

The $25 million recovery fund will be available to small businesses, nonprofits, independent contractors and self-employed individuals.

Mayor Muriel Bowser alongside D.C. government officials during a tele-town hall on March 24. (Screenshot)

Mayor Muriel Bowser on Tuesday announced a $25 million recovery fund to provide grants to small businesses in D.C. impacted by COVID-19.

The Bowser administration, along with the Council of the District of Columbia, will be investing the funds to be distributed as microgrants. The DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants Program will be managed by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED).

The program’s microgrants will be available to small businesses, nonprofits, independent contractors and self-employed individuals — yes, freelancers, that means you too. These grants can be used to support short-term financial needs like covering rent, employee wages and benefits, utilities bills and more. DMPED doesn’t specify how much money will be offered in individual grants, though WTOP reports that the grants run up to $25,000.

Here’s some restrictions to determine if you’re eligible to apply:

  • For small businesses, applicants cannot be a franchise company, and 50% of their owners or employees must be based in D.C.
  • Nonprofit organizations must not be national or global; services must not extend beyond the DMV region.
  • Independent contractors and self-employed individuals must be D.C. residents and paying self-employment taxes.

Applications will be open until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31. The application process can take up to 40 minutes, reports DMPED.

Apply for a small biz microgrant

For businesses that have been operating for less than three years, owners will need to provide documentation that proves so. Those interested will also need to provide (if applicable):

  • A federal employer identification number or social security number
  • Documentation of owner’s state of residency
  • Roster of employees and their state of residency
  • Financial documents such as recent tax returns or income statements

Earlier this week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced a similar program for Maryland businesses, though it seems that Virginia Gov.┬áRalph Northam hasn’t announced a Virginia grant initiative. Virginia small businesses can tap into the U.S. Small Business Administration’s economic injury disaster loan and for businesses eligible to remain open, the governor authorized rapid response funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to support emergency needs and cleaning efforts.

However, if you’re planning to apply to the SBA program, you’ll need to wait a bit:

Series: Coronavirus

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