Small Business Relief Program

The Hamilton County CARES Small Business Relief Program provides Hamilton County small businesses with some monetary relief from business interruption costs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible small businesses are able to apply for up to $10,000 in Grant Funds to be used for the reimbursement of certain Eligible Expenses, as defined below.  Hamilton County utilized over $5 million of its CARES Act allotment for the second round of assistance.

Small businesses can sign up on the County's website to receive notifications concerning the program. For questions regarding the program, please email SBRelief@hamilton-co.org

 Launch on Thursday, September 16th at 12:00 pm

 Close on Monday, October 4th at 5:00 pm

Application Period is Now Closed

  Please sign-up here for email notifications on future CARES Act opportunities

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply for Grant Funds under the Hamilton County Small Business Relief Program, a business must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be a for-profit entity with a business location in Hamilton County (that is not permanently closed)
  2. Have a Federal Taxpayer Identification Number for its type of business
  3. Must have been in operation as of December 31, 2019, or earlier
  4. Have less than $2.5 million in gross revenue/receipts on an annual basis
  5. Must have experienced a 15% revenue loss when comparing 2019 gross revenue to 2020 gross revenue due to COVID-19 public health emergency and the Grant funding is necessary to help it recover from the impact of COVID-19. This can be evidenced by submitting the business' 2019 and 2020 business federal tax return. Calculation of revenue loss must be inclusive of any other state, local, or federal assistance.
  6. Have 50 or fewer W-2 employees or 1099 workers as of December 31, 2019
  7. Have Eligible Expenses directly associated with a Hamilton County business location
  8. For a small business that received funding in Round 1 or Round 2 of the Hamilton County Small Business Relief Program, it has timely and properly submitted all close-out reports and requested information
  9. Is able to attest that it is in compliance with federal, state, or county and local requirements applicable to its type of business, including tax payments and code enforcement
  10. Is able to attest that it is not currently in bankruptcy or the subject of a receivership
  11. Is able to attest that it does not have any federal, state or local tax liens
  12. Must have paid Eligible Expenses over and above any other expenses already paid for, or to be paid for, with other federal, state, local government funding, insurance proceeds, or other funding assistance. Grant funding cannot be used to reimburse for expenses already paid for with other federal, state, or local funding.

 

In order to demonstrate a small business is an Eligible Business, the following documentation is required:

  1. Copy of business owner’s driver's license or government issued ID
  2. Proof of revenue reduction. A copy of a business' federal tax return for 2019 and 2020. Sole proprietors must submit a complete 1040, including Schedule C for 2019 and 2020.
  3. Proof of business location in Hamilton County (mortgage statement, rental agreement, utility bill, insurance statement, and/or property tax bill)

Ineligible Small Businesses

The following types of business are NOT eligible to receive Grant funding under the Program:

  1. Adult entertainment establishment
  2. E-commerce only company
  3. Liquor / wine store
  4. Business that primarily sells tobacco products, cigarettes, electronic smoking devices or vapor products
  5. Cannabis dispensary
  6. Financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, payday lenders, or other similar businesses
  7. Franchised business not locally owned and independently operated
  8. Real estate investment trusts
  9. Real estate leasing companies/landlords
  10. Real estate development companies
  11. Property management companies
  12. Independent contractors working on gig platforms (such as Airbnb, Fiverr, Uber, Lyft, Instacart, etc.)

Eligible Expenses

  1. Mortgage costs. However, mortgage costs for businesses that are located in or operated out of a personal residence are NOT an eligible expense. (Only principal and interest is eligible not any real estate property taxes)
  2. Rent or lease costs. Rent or lease costs for businesses that are located in or operated out of a personal residence are NOT an eligible expense.
  3. Utility costs, such as electric, gas, sewer, phone, internet, water, trash removal. Utility costs for businesses that are located in or operated out of personal residence are NOT an eligible expense.
  4. Salaries, wages or compensation paid to employees or 1099 workers (owner and member draws are not eligible)
  5. Business insurance (Business Name must appear on policy and match name on submitted as a part of the application)
  6. Personal Protective Equipment and costs to protect employees and customers from COVID-19, including masks, gloves, cleaning services and cleaning supplies, barriers, touchless systems, additional ventilation or other air filtering equipment; markers for social distancing, and tents to allow for distancing.
  7. Lost Income (only single owner businesses with no employees)

*The ONLY eligible expenses are listed above. No other expenses will be considered, including but not limited to: personal expenses, taxes, licenses or government fees (aside from water and sewer). Grant funds may not be used to reimburse for expenses for which a business has or will receive from another source, including any other government loan or grant program.

Process

1. Application

Interested businesses must complete an Application to determine if they meet the Eligibility Criteria.

The maximum amount a small business can request for reimbursement is limited to $10,000. Under no circumstances will a small business receive more than its documented revenue reduction.

Applications can be submitted online beginning at 12:00 p.m. on September 16 and ending at 5:00 p.m. on October 4. Under no circumstances will late or incomplete Applications be accepted. An Application is not complete and considered submitted unless and until all the steps in the Application are marked complete, including acceptance of the Terms and Conditions, and the Application is submitted.

2. Use of Lottery to Allocate Funding (if necessary)

To the extent that requested reimbursements are greater that the amount of funding allocated to the Program, a small business that has timely submitted a complete Application will be entered into one of two lotteries based on the number of its employees/1099 workers.

  • Lottery A: 0 – 10 employees/1099 workers; and
  • Lottery B: 11 – 50 employees/1099 workers.

The allocated funding will be distributed to each of the lotteries based on the percentage of Applications in each lottery category (by way of example only, if 70 percent of total applicants are in Lottery A; then 70 percent of the funding will be allocated to Lottery A and 30 percent of the funding will be allocated to Lottery B).

3. Review of Application

Representatives of the HCDC, Inc. ("HCDC") and Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio will review and verify the information contained on the Application and all submitted documents. If the submitted information and documents do not demonstrate that the business has met the Eligibility Criteria, another business will be chosen from the lottery.

4. Payment of Grant Funds to Approved Small Businesses

If approved for the grant, HCDC will notify the small business via the email address that the business used to submit its application. This notification will prompt the business to submit its direct deposit/ACH information via a secured portal so that grant funds can be transferred to the business's account.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may view a list of Frequently Asked Questions here  .

Round 1 (May 20 - May 27, 2020)

In this first round of funding, 217 small businesses received Hamilton County CARES Act grants to help weather the economic hardships caused by COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with HCDC, Inc., Hamilton County’s Economic Development Office, Hamilton County distributed over $1.7 Million in grant money to qualified small businesses in this first round of funding.

Of the 217 businesses, 93 businesses self-described as MBEs (43%), 105 businesses marked that they were WBEs (48%), 69 businesses checked that they were both MBE and WBE (32%) and 12 businesses claimed Veteran Owned status (6%).

You may view an interactive map of the approved businesses here, or download the full list of business here.

Round 2 (Aug 24 - Sept 4, 2020)

In this first round of funding, 579 small businesses received Hamilton County CARES Act grants to help weather the economic hardships caused by COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with HCDC, Inc., Hamilton County’s Economic Development Office, Hamilton County distributed over $5.0 Million in grant money to qualified small businesses in this first round of funding.

Of the 579 businesses, 277 businesses self-described as MBEs (48%), 280 businesses marked that they were WBEs (48%), 168 businesses checked that they were both MBE and WBE (29%) and 29 businesses claimed Veteran Owned status (5%).