Support for California’s Small Businesses: What’s available, who qualifies, how to apply?

Support for California's Small Businesses What's available, who qualifies, how to apply

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

The sixth and final round of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program opens for applications on April 28 and ends on May 4. Grants range from $5000 to $25,000. This is one of several programs aimed to support small businesses (including nonprofits) clobbered by the pandemic.

More than $2 billion in new Cal Relief Grants is up for grabs for eligible small businesses in California that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated coronavirus restrictions.  The demand for funding has been immense, with small businesses and nonprofits reaching out for relief. “We try to be specific in terms of making sure this isn’t first come first serve,” said Lendistry CEO Everett Sands. The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant program is administered through the state’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) in partnership with Lendistry. Of the more than $500 million that has been awarded from previous rounds of Cal Relief Grant funding, 55% of grants have gone to minority-owned businesses and 53% to women-owned businesses, according to Sands.

For application assistance and more information on application deadlines, grant requirements, eligibility criteria, instructional videos, and more, visit The site lists resources for how you can apply through a community partner and has a tool to search for one in your county whose representatives speak your preferred language.

  • Eligibility requirements
  • Eligible small businesses and nonprofits must have yearly gross revenue of between $1,000 and $2.5 million yearly gross revenue.
  • Must have been operating since at least June 1, 2019.
  • Must either be open or have a plan to reopen.
  • Must have been impacted by COVID-19.
  • Must be able to provide required documents, including tax forms and certain business records.
  • Must provide a government-issued ID.
  • Applicants with multiple businesses or locations can’t apply for multiple grants. Instead, they must apply once using their eligible small business with the highest revenue.

Required documents include a signed certification form, your most recent tax return filed, a copy of an official business filing with the California Secretary of State and your local municipality, and a government-issued photo ID. The application period closes at 5 p.m. on May 4.

Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, 3 & 5 do not need to re-apply. Eligible waitlisted applicants do not need to reapply; instead, they will move automatically into round 6 for consideration. New applicants will need to apply on the website.

Lendistry, the state-designated intermediary, reviews applications to determine eligibility and consults with CalOSBA to award grants that prioritize several factors, including geographic distribution based on COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. Small businesses or nonprofits in all 58 California counties were selected to receive a grant with 64.8% of grants going to applicants located in low- to moderate-income communities, for example.

Notifications will begin on May 7, according to Sands said that businesses that have pre-uploaded their documentation will get their grants fastest. Funds go out on Tuesdays and Thursdays, he said.

 “I was so glad to finally see that our company had been selected for a business grant in the third round of the CA Relief grant program,” said Pleshette Robertson, founder, CEO and Chief Editor of Sac Cultural Hub, a print and digital magazine that serves a largely African American readership across Northern California. My business was hit hard by this COVID-19 pandemic and the grant was a huge help for contributing towards meeting small payroll and our monthly office lease. 

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