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January 27, 2022

County gains $2.4M for grants to small businesses

Funds available for ‘microbusiness’ impacted by pandemic

Santa Clara County will receive about $2.4 million from the California Microbusiness Covid-19 Relief Grant Program (MBCRG) to aid very small businesses adversely affected by the pandemic, according to county officials.

On Jan. 11, the Board of Supervisors accepted the grant and approved community partner Enterprise Foundation to administer the program that will provide $2,500 each to approximately 875 local small businesses.

“The pandemic has taken a significant toll on small businesses and their employees,” said Board of Supervisors President Mike Wasserman. “We know that the economic devastation of Covid-19 will take a long time to heal, but in the meantime, these grants are intended to provide some relief for struggling businesses in our community.” 

The county applied to the State of California Office of the Small Business Advocate for the MBCRG grant in November. The state program provides about $50 million in one-time grant funding that is being offered first to counties to administer. 

The county will partner with Enterprise Foundation and other community agencies to identify eligible microbusinesses for the $2,438,122 in grant funding and to set-up an application process in the coming weeks, county staff said in a press release. 

Microbusinesses that face systemic barriers to access capital—including businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, undocumented immigrants, individuals with limited English proficiency, business owners located in low wealth and rural communities, and others—will be encouraged to apply for the grants.

“Thanks to the State of California and the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, we can begin the process to get these grants into our community,” said County Chief Operating Officer Miguel Márquez. “We hope every small business that is eligible has the opportunity to apply for the funds. With the help of our partners like Enterprise Foundation, the county will work to ensure that the grants get into the hands of those who need it most.” 

The MBCRG program is specifically directed at small businesses that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. These businesses can include sidewalk vendors, independent contractors and any other small businesses that had less than five employees in both 2019 and 2020, and less than $50,000 in total business revenue in 2019.

The County of Santa Clara and Enterprise Foundation will engage additional partners to help with outreach and to assist microbusinesses with grant applications.

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