During its October 20 meeting, Napa City Council adopted a resolution to establish a COVID-19 Microenterprise Grant Program. The program will provide grants of up to $5,000 to eligible small business owners to help vital local businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our local businesses are indispensable and irreplaceable aspects of our local culture and economy,” said Mayor Jill Techel. “The City is already taking steps to safely and efficiently recover from the challenges of the last several months--helping revitalize our local businesses is a key part of our recovery effort.”
To be eligible for a microenterprise grant, businesses in the City must meet two Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) eligible income requirements:
- Be classified as a "microenterprise": a business with 5 or fewer employees
- Make 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI)
The City's intention behind the COVID-19 Microenterprise Grant program is to address the often-overlooked needs of socio-economically disenfranchised entrepreneurs that may not have other access to resources or traditional financing. The grant program is designed to give small businesses a necessary lifeline to help accommodate for coronavirus-related changes or simply pay bills that may have piled up.
Microenterprises who receive the grants will be able to use the funds for, but not limited to:
- Paying costs associated with e-commerce, such as delivery services, website creation or enhancements or online marketing costs
- Paying rent or utilities for their commercial rental space
- Purchasing business inventory
- Purchasing safety materials such as partitions, hand sanitizer, face masks and gloves
- Paying employees
The City is funding the program through a portion of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds that were given to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to distribute. The funding is required to be spent in accordance with CDBG regulations, which service low and moderate-income individuals.
The CDBG Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommended $185,344 of the CDBG CARES funding be used for a microenterprise grant program, which the City Council approved on Aug. 18, 2020.
The Department of Community Development will establish regulations for the grants and inform applicants on how to access these vital funds. Tonight's City Council meeting is the second step of a three-step approval process from the following: CDBG Citizen's Advisory Committee, Napa City Council, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Once HUD issues their approval, the City of Napa will formally announce the program's start date.
For further information, contact Senior Development Specialist Stephanie Cajina at [email protected].