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Small Business Grant Program

Orange CARES for Small Businesses Orange County Government, Fl logo

Information

Orange County’s CARES Act Funding for Small Businesses will invest $72.9 million into Orange County small businesses. The distribution of funds is through two programs: (1) the Small Business Grant Program; and (2) the Micro-Grant Program for Home-Based Businesses.

Funds from both programs will assist small businesses cover normal business expenses, including employee wages, vendor bills, and rent to help offset the temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19. The Federal CARES Act provides the funding for this County program.

Available Programs

1

Small Business Grant Program

Grant Program applicants that meet all of the eligibility requirements and submit all required documentation are eligible to receive a one-time $10,000 grant that does not need to be paid back.

If you are a business with a commercial location or a mobile business in the City of Orlando you may qualify for this program.

Grant Program Information

Grant Program Eligibility Criteria

Business must have been operating since at least January 1, 2020. The following are additional criteria for the Grant Program:

Eligible Business Classifications

Businesses must meet one of the two following criteria in order to be eligible for the Grant Program.

  1. Commercial Businesses: Businesses that have physical commercial location(s) AND employ 100 employees or less, not including the owner. Mobile businesses operating out of a physical commercial location are considered “Commercial Businesses” for eligibility purposes.
  2. Home-Based Businesses: Businesses operating out of a home residence in compliance with the zoning regulations of their jurisdiction. In all jurisdictions, Home-Based Businesses are not permitted to have employees that are not residents of the home residence. Home-Based Businesses that have 3 or more employees that are residents of the home residence, not including the owner, are eligible for the Grant Program. Unless licensed by the City of Orlando (see below), mobile businesses operating out of a home residence are considered “Home-Based Businesses.”
City of Orlando Licensed Mobile Businesses

If a business operating out of a home residence has a Mobile Business License with the City of Orlando, that business is exempted from the “Home-Based Business” requirement that all employees must live at the residence. Such businesses are eligible for the Grant Program so long as they have 3 or more employees not including the owner.

2

Micro-Grant Program for Home-Based Businesses

Micro-Grant Program applicants that meet all of the eligibility requirements and submit all required documentation are eligible to receive a one-time grant up to $3,000 that does not need to be paid back, with the grant amount determined based upon on their 2019 revenue.

If you are a home based business with 3 or less employees that are residents of the home residence, including the owner, you may qualify for this program.

Micro-Grant Program Information

Micro-Grant Funding Scale
2019 Business Revenue Micro-Grant Amount
$4,999 or under 10% of 2019 Business Revenue
$5,000 – $9,999 $500
$10,000 - $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 - $29,999 $2,000
$30,000 or greater $3,000
Micro-Grant Program Eligibility Criteria

The business must have been operating with revenue generated in 2019. The following are additional criteria for the Micro-Grant Program:

Eligible Business Classification
  1. Home-Based Businesses: Businesses operating out of a home residence in compliance with the zoning regulations of their jurisdiction. In all jurisdictions, Home-Based Businesses are not permitted to have employees that are not residents of the home residence. Home-Based Businesses that have 3 or less employees that are residents of the home residence, including the owner, are eligible for the Micro-Grant Program.
City of Orlando Licensed Mobile Businesses

If a business operating out of a home residence has a Mobile Business License with the City of Orlando, that business is exempted from the “Home-Based Business” requirement that all employees must live at the residence. Such businesses are eligible for the Micro-Grant Program so long as they have 3 or less employees including the owner.

How to Apply


Step 1: Check for Eligibility

Review the available programs to identify if you meet the criteria for the program you prefer. Then, review the other eligibility criteria listed below, as well as the required documents, and the frequently asked questions.

Other Eligibility Criteria

Businesses, regardless of classification, must meet the following criteria in addition to the program-specific criteria in order to be considered for either of the CARES Act for Small Businesses grant programs. Businesses must be:

  • Physically located and operated within the boundaries of Orange County, Florida
  • For-profit business
  • NOT a publicly traded company
  • Experienced a business interruption or closures due to COVID-19
  • Have not received funds covered by insurance or reimbursement from the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP) in excess of $75,000 related to COVID-19
  • Prove ongoing business operations as of February 29, 2020
  • Expected to operate after applicable local and state emergency guidelines are removed
  • Commit to following all recommended COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
    1. Practice social distancing
    2. Stay home when feeling sick
    3. Wear protective face covering
    4. Conduct health screenings
    5. Sanitize and wash hands frequently
    6. High-risk individuals should shelter and work from home, when possible.
    7. Temperature checks for all staff. If there's a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, they must go home.
  • No current unpaid code enforcement liens or violation of any state, federal, or local laws
  • No owner, officer, partner or principal actor of the business involved with financial mismanagement. This includes: "Business Owner(s) with any conviction(s) for financial crimes within the last 3 years, with Business Owner(s) defined as: Managing Members and/or Officers."

Additional Funding Limitations

The County has determined that limiting the number of grants that businesses with multiple locations or shared owners can receive is the most equitable method of ensuring that the highest number and broadest variety of businesses and business owners are provided access to the limited financial relief resources provided through the Grant Program. As such, the following limitations on receipt of funding are in place:

  • Businesses with the same tax ID numbers are limited to receiving only 1 grant.
  • Businesses that share both entity names and owner(s), regardless of whether or not such businesses have separate tax ID numbers, are limited to receiving only 1 grant.
  • Businesses that share owner(s) but have different entity names and tax ID numbers, may receive separate grants for up to 2 such businesses, each of which must be kept separate and apart from one another and used solely to benefit the business to which the grant was issued.

For the purposes of these Additional Funding Limitations, the “owner(s)” of a business shall be determined by review of the business’s tax returns (if filed) and the documents filed with the Florida Department of Corporations. Ownership shall be determined as it was as of February 29, 2020. By submitting an application for the Grant Program, and applicant is certifying that such application is in compliance with these Additional Funding Limitations.

Required Documents

Business owners will need the following documents before they fill out the application:

  • Current W-9 Form
  • Active state business registration, license or other documentation
  • Business financials, including 2019 Tax Return or equivalent
  • Staffing documentation, including W-3 Summary, IRS Form 1096, IRS Form 941; or sole proprietor statement (for sole proprietors only in English or in Spanish).
  • Municipal business tax receipt
  • If the business received Federal PPP funding, provide proof such as a confirmation from your lending institution, or a copy of your PPP executed note.

Depending on the small business’ legal structure, business owners will be required to provide:

Individual (Sole Proprietors and individual/single-owner LLCs): may submit their 2019 Schedule C (Form 104). If no 2019 Schedule C is available, provide 2018 Schedule C, AND most recent Annual or Quarterly Balance Sheet or Profit and Loss Statement.

Corporations (C-Corps, S-Corps, corporate Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs)): may submit their 2019 Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120/Form 1120-S). If no 2019 Corporation Income Tax Return is available, provide 2018 Corporation Income Tax Return, AND Annual or Quarterly Balance Sheet or Profit and Loss Statement

Partnerships: may submit their 2019 Return of Partnership Income (Form 1065). If no 2019 Return of Partnership Income is available, provide 2018 Tax Return, AND Annual or Quarterly Balance Sheet or Profit and Loss Statement.

Staffing Documents

Business owners will be required to provide their W-3 Summary, Form 1096 from 2019 OR Form 941 from the first quarter of 2020, or the fourth quarter of 2019.

Sole Proprietors

Sole proprietors may complete and attach a Sole Proprietor Certification Statement in English or in Spanish stating that the business owner is the sole proprietor with no additional employees or subcontracted workers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I apply for these small business grant programs?
A: Orange County small businesses can apply to these programs by filling out an online application. If you are unable to access the Internet or have a language barrier, please call 3-1-1.

Q: When did the application process begin?
A: The application process began on June 8, 2020 and closed temporarily on July 31, 2020. The program will reopen on August 10, 2020 at 8 a.m.

Q: When does the application process end?
A: Orange County Government will evaluate the application process periodically to determine whether it will temporarily close and reopen.

Q: What documents do I need in order to apply?
A: Please review the Required Documents section above.

Q: Where can I find my active state business registration?
A: Business owners can find the most recent filing for their active state business registration from the Florida Division of Corporations by searching the full, legal business name.

If your business is not required to register with the Florida Division of Corporations, other documents may include certification from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, certification from the Department of Health, and a business tax receipt from applicable jurisdiction.

Q: What financial documents do I need in order to apply?
A: Please review the Required Documents section above.

Q: What are the eligibility criteria?
A: Please review the eligibility criteria for either program as well as the Other Eligibility Criteria section above.

Q: Are independent contractors eligible to receive grant funds?
A: No. An independent contractor is typically a person who provides services under a written agreement. They will not have any of the required documentation needed to apply. Therefore, only businesses legally organized and located in Orange County are eligible to receive grant funds.

Q: Which types of businesses will be prioritized?
A: Applications for the Orange County Small Business Program are first-come, first-served until the funds are depleted.

Q: Is there a stipulation on how I can spend the grant funds?
A: Funds will cover normal business expenses, such as employee wages, vendor bills and rent to help offset the significant temporary loss of revenue to qualified small businesses.

Q: Am I able to save and come back to my application?
A: Yes.

Q: May I edit my documents after I submit my application?
A: No. Documents cannot be edited after the application has been submitted.

Q: What if my application is incomplete?
A: Applications will be automatically rejected if documents are missing, falsified or illegible.

Q: How many businesses will Orange County assist?
A: Orange County will provide grants to approximately 6,500 small businesses.

Q: Do I have to pay the money back?
A: No. Small businesses will not have to pay back the grant.

Q: Where is this money coming from?
A: The funds for the Orange County Small Business Grant Program are part of the County’s Federal CARES Act funding.

Q: How much money will I receive?
A: Small businesses approved for the Small Business Grant Program will receive a one-time payment of $10,000. Small businesses approved for the Micro-Grant Program for Home-based Businesses will receive up to $3,000, based on 2019 business revenue.

Q: What is the approval process?
A: A review committee will evaluate the applicant’s documents for eligibility to make sure it is complete. Applicants will be notified by email as to whether their application has been approved or denied.

Q: Who makes up the Review Committee?
A:  The review committee is comprised of staff members from economic development partners.

Q: Who will provide the funds if my business is approved?
A: The Orange County Comptroller’s Office will coordinate and execute all grant distribution and receipt activities with the applicant business.

Q: How will I know my application has been successfully submitted?
A: After you submit your application, you will see a confirmation screen and will receive a confirmation email with a unique number.  We recommend you make a copy of the confirmation screen for your records.

Q: What if I don’t receive or delete my confirmation information?
A:  Please check your spam and junk-mail folders in your email. If you still cannot locate your confirmation information, please call 3-1-1.

Q: Who can I contact if I have any questions?
A: Residents can call 3-1-1 for more information regarding these grant programs.

Q: Am I eligible to apply if I live in another County, but my business is located in Orange County?
Yes, if the business has a physical address in Orange County.

Q: How do I know if my business is a publicly traded company?
A: Businesses can visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s filing and forms web page.

Step 2: Complete the Application

Complete the online application form. Applicants are required to affirm and upload relevant business documents to be considered for these grant programs.

Step 3: Application Review

A review committee will evaluate the applicant’s documents for eligibility. Applications will be automatically rejected if documents are missing, falsified or illegible.

Step 4: Notice to Applicant

Applicants will receive an email notifying them as to whether their online application has been accepted or denied.

Step 5: Processing and Distribution

Accepted applications will be processed for grant distribution. The Orange County Comptroller will coordinate and execute all grant distribution activities with the applicant business.

Apply Here

Orange County's CARES Act Funding for Small Businesses program recently expanded eligibility of its grant programs to allow more businesses to qualify, including home-based businesses. Learn more.

To implement these changes in the application and website, the program temporarily closed on Friday, July 31, 2020 and will reopen on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 8 a.m. Updated August 6, 2020

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