Applications opened Tuesday for a new D.C. program that offers grants of $10,000 to support small and local businesses struggling in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.
The $3 million Small Business Resiliency Fund will assist brick-and-mortar businesses with grants to support the pivot of business models, including the development of new infrastructure like e-commerce platforms, the purchase of personal protective equipment and disinfectant supplies, as well as for marketing expenses.
“Our businesses have been resilient in the face of immense challenges, and we know they still need our support,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “These grants will help small businesses adapt and implement creative measures so they can stay open and operating during the public health emergency.”
City First Enterprises, a community development financial institution, will administer and manage the fund, which will be housed in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
The deadline to apply for D.C.’s Small business Resiliency Fund grants is 11:59 p.m. Oct. 15. To be eligible, businesses must employ 50 or fewer people, generate less than $3 million in gross receipts and demonstrate they have lost at least a quarter of their revenue because of the public health crisis.
Bowser recently said the District has spent nearly $1 billion on pandemic-related costs — spending that has hamstrung the city’s ability to offer additional relief to businesses struggling through the pandemic.
“We know we won’t be able to locally fill all of those gaps, and that’s why having real federal stimulus and sustained federal stimulus is what our businesses are going to need,” she said in September.
Additional federal stimulus is up in the air at the moment. President Donald Trump on Tuesday called off stimulus negotiations with Democrats until after the Nov. 3 election. Later in the day, he reversed course, urging Congress to approve several measures, including a new round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
In another recent effort to help businesses weather the pandemic, D.C. unveiled a $4 million program that offers $6,000 grants to city restaurants for the express purpose of winterizing their outdoor dining areas to help maintain patio dining as cold weather enters the region. Patio dining has been a lifeline for many local restaurants during the pandemic, as indoor dining has been banned or significantly limited for months. Applications for that program remain open.