California Relief Grants for Small Businesses Now Open

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Source: City of Santa Barbara

The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program is now open for applications to small businesses and non-profits for grants up to $25,000. To learn about eligibility and how to apply, watch a webinar in English or Spanish and review the guides below on the application process.

1. Watch an informational webinar. The SBDC network is hosting daily webinars  at 11 AM with live Q&A to help answer questions regarding this grant program. We highly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. Click HERE to register. Recordings are also available to watch in English and Spanish:

English recording:

Spanish recording:

2. Review the guide. Before starting an application, review the eligibility and step-by-step instructions.

·     Click HERE to view the business guide.

·     Click HERE to view the non-profit guide.

3. Apply. When you are ready to apply, visit and choose your appropriate language or county to view partners to apply through. You may choose to apply under any partner.

4. For further assistance, please call the Economic Development Collaborative to speak with a member of their staff  at 805.409.9159 (ENGLISH) or 805.309.5874 (SPANISH). 


The Governor announced the creation of a $500 million COVID-19 Relief Grant administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and the health and safety restrictions. Funds will be awarded to selected intermediaries with established networks of Community Development Financial Institutions to distribute relief through grants of up to $25,000 to underserved micro and small businesses throughout the state. Cultural institutions and non-profits are also eligible for these grants. 

 This grant program is NOT first-come, first-served. Please take the time to prepare all necessary documentation and careful review your application. One complete application will qualify you to be considered for both rounds, please only apply once.

First Application Window Opens December 30, 2020 at 6:00 am and Closes January 8, 2021 at 11:59 pm


A small business or small nonprofit must satisfy the following criteria to be eligible to receive a grant award:

·     Must meet the definition of an “eligible small business”. An “eligible small business” means (i) a “small business” (sole proprietor, independent contractor, 1099 work, and or registered “for-profit” business entity (e.g., C-corporation, S-corporation, limited liability company, partnership) that has yearly gross revenue of $2.5 million or less (but at least $1,000 in yearly gross revenue) based on most recently filed tax return) or (ii) a “small nonprofit” (registered 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) nonprofit entity having yearly gross revenue of $2.5 million or less (but at least $1,000 in yearly gross revenue) based on most recently filed Form 990);

·     Active businesses or nonprofits operating since at least June 1, 2019;

·     Businesses must currently be operating or have a clear plan to re-open once the State of California permits re-opening of the business;

·     Business must be impacted by COVID-19 and the health and safety restrictions such as business interruptions or business closures incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;

·     Business must be able to provide organizing documents including 2018 or 2019 tax returns or Form 990s, copy of official filing with the California Secretary of State, if applicable, or local municipality for the business such as one of the following: Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Organization, Fictitious Name of Registration or Government-Issued Business License;

·     Business must be able to provide acceptable form of government-issued photo ID; and

·     Applicants with multiple business entities, franchises, locations, etc. are not eligible for multiple grants and are only allowed to apply once using their eligible small business with the highest revenue

Funds May be Used For

Eligible costs are only those costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and safety restrictions such as business interruptions or business closures incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are the eligible uses of grant funds:

·     All employee expenses including payroll costs, health care benefits, paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums;

·     Working capital, overhead (including rent, utilities, mortgage principal and interest payments (excluding mortgage prepayments)), debt payments (principal and interest) incurred before March 1, 2020;

·     Costs associated with re-opening business operations after being fully or partially closed due to state-mandated COVID-19 health and safety restrictions and business closures;

·     Costs associated with complying with COVID-19 federal, state or local guidelines for reopening with required safety protocols, including but not limited to equipment, plexiglass barriers, outdoor dining, PPE supplies, testing, and employee training expenses; or

·     Any other COVID-19 related expenses not already covered through grants, forgivable loans or other relief through federal, state, county or city programs

To register for an upcoming information webinar, CLICK HERE.

For all updates, further information and guidance on where to apply, CLICK HERE.


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