Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program

California offers the largest grant program to small businesses in the nation.  The $4 billion will be awarded over multiple rounds of funding with eligible but unfunded applicants being automatically placed in subsequent rounds for potential funding.  As of August 10, 2021, six funding rounds have been opened.  The next three rounds are outlined below.

  • Round 7:  Wait-listed applicants from Rounds 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6.  No new applicants are being accepted for this round.  Applications are being accepted from Tuesday, August 3 through Thursday, September 16, 2021.

  • Round 8:  Nonprofit cultural institutions only - approximately $16 million is available from a prior round.  Eligible nonprofit cultural institutions must complete a new application even if they already applied in Rounds 1,2, 5, or 6; nonprofit cultural institutions that applied in Round 4 do not need to re-apply.  Applications are being accepted from August 27 through September 8, 2021. 

  • Round 9:  New Applicants and Wait-listed applicants from Rounds 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, or 7.  Applications will be accepted from September 9 through September 30.

Small business applicants can apply either through the Lendistry online platform https://careliefgrant.com/ or a nonprofit partner.  Lendistry has partnered with a wide range of nonprofits across the state.  On the Lendistry platform applicants can serve the list of nonprofits by county or which foreign languages are spoken by the service provider.   

Grant award amounts are based on the annual revenues of eligible businesses and nonprofits:

  • Businesses and nonprofits with revenues between $1,000 and $100,000 may receive a $5,000 grant.

  • Businesses and nonprofits with revenues greater than $100,000 up to $1,000,000 may receive a $15,000 grant.

  • Businesses and nonprofits with revenues greater than $1,000,000 up to $2,500,000 may receive a $25,000 grant.

In addition to English, applications are available in Spanish and Cantonese.   On-demand webinars are available in English, Spanish, and Arabic.  In addition, Lendistry has developed a very detailed set of FAQs to assist potential applicants, including individuals who have been waitlisted.

Outreach and Outcomes

In approving the $4 billion Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, the Legislature approved over $50 million for outreach to historically underserved communities and undercapitalized business owners, including women- and minority-owned businesses.  In addition, program priorities included a list of industry sectors that were highly impacted by the pandemic, including restaurants, retail apparel, hair salons, and lodging.  Below is the most current information publicly available on grantees from Round 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6.

Chart 1 - Summary of Selected Awardees (Industry as of 8/6/21)
 
Highly Impacted Industry by Percentage
Other Impacted Industry by Percentage
Total-target Industry by Percentage
Non-target Industry by Percentage
For-Profit by Percentage
Nonprofit by Percentage
 
Round 1
53.5
4.2
62.9
37.1
94.8
5.2
Round 2
45.9
4.3
52.7
47.3
97.5
2.5
Round 3
35.4
4.5
42.3
57.7
97.6
2.4
Round 5
23.0
4.0
28.9
72.1
98.1
1.9
Round 6 (preliminary data)
11.7
3.3
18.6
81.4
96.4
3.6
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Average from all Rounds excluding 6
39.4
4.2
46.7
53.55
97
3.3
Sourcehttps://static.business.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/SBCRG-Final-Awards-Data-as-of-08-06-2021.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chart 2 - Summary of Selected Awardees (Gender and Veterans as of 8/6/21)
 
Percentage of Women Grantees
Percentage of Male or Decline-to-State Grantees
Percentage of Veteran Grantees
Round 1
53.0
47.0
1.5
Round 2
55.5
44.5
2.0
Round 3
55.5
44.5
2.7
Round 5
47.2
52.8
3.1
Round 6 (preliminary data)
43.9
56.1
3.3
 
 
 
 
Average from all Rounds excluding 6
              52.8
            47.2
2.3
Sourcehttps://static.business.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/SBCRG-Final-Awards-Data-as-of-08-06-2021.pdf
Chart 3 - Summary of Selected Awardees (Self-Identified Race and Ethnicity as of 8/6/21)
 
Percentage of White Grantees
Percentage of African American Grantees
Percentage of Asian Grantees
Percentage of Hispanic Grantees
Percentage of Native American Grantees
 
Percentage of Pacific-Islander Grantees 
Round 1
45.1
6.2
32.4
16.0
2.0
2.1
Round 2
40.9%
7.4
33.2
18.1
1.9
2.2
Round 3
34.0
7.4
38.1
19.7
2.2
2.7
Round 5
37.6
8.1
33.7
19.7
2.1
2.4
Round 6 (preliminary data)
41.1
6.7
32.5
18.6
1.9
2.6
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Average from all Rounds excluding 6
39.4
7.2
34.3
18.3
2.0
7.6
Sourcehttps://static.business.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/SBCRG-Final-Awards-Data-as-of-08-06-2021.pdf

 

Chart 4 - Summary of Selected Awardees (Location as of 8/6/21)
 
Percentage of Grantees Located in a Suburban or Urban Area
Percentage of Grantees Located in a Rural Area
Percentage of Grantees Located in a Low- or Moderate-Income Area
Percentage of Grantees Located in a High-Income Area
Round 1
88.1
11.9
76.7
23.3
Round 2
90.3
9.7
68.0
32
Round 3
90.7
9.2
67.1
32.9
Round 5
92.2
7.8
57.0
43
Round 6 (preliminary data)
93.1
6.9
57.0
43
 
 
 
 
 
Average from all Rounds excluding 6
90.3
9.65
67.2
32.8
Sourcehttps://static.business.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/SBCRG-Final-Awards-Data-as-of-08-06-2021.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of the Program

In late November 2020, Governor Newsom reached out to the California Legislative leaders to discuss the possibility of a state grant program for small businesses and nonprofits.  While the state had activated its Small Business Disaster Loan Guarantee Program in the spring and authorized the development of a new blended loan program, which became the California Rebuilding Fund, it was clear that for the state’s smallest businesses, grants would be needed.  Appendix F (page 47) of the background report includes the memorandum the Chair of the Assembly Jobs Committee sent to the Administration expressing key priority and programmatic considerations.

After consultation with Assembly and Senate leadership, as well as policy and fiscal chairs, the Governor announced the new $500 million Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program on December 4, 2020.  Within weeks a competitively bid contract was awarded to Lendistry to administer the program on behalf of the Office of the Small Business Advocate and GO-Biz.

Technical assistance webinars describing the program and how to apply were held daily, sometime more often, between December 23, 2020, and January 4, 2021.  The core of the webinars were hosted by the California Small Business Development Network.  Webinars were offered in a range of languages, which included in addition to English, in Arabic, Armenian, English, Farsi, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Outreach was also subcontracted to many nonprofit technical assistance and advocacy organizations, including, but not limited to, statewide organizations like the American Indian Chamber of Commerce, Black Small Business Association of California, CalAsian Chamber, California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO), California Association of Nonprofits, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California Manufacturing Technology Consulting, California Small Business Development Center, and California Women's Business Center Network.  The outreach network also included local and regional partners, such as the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, and the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce.

Since those initial efforts, the Legislature has approved two additional appropriations to support the program, bringing the total amount of funds to $4 billion.

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