Cambridge Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant

The Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program is a complementary grant program to the city’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant. It is a special program helping Cambridge’s U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) eligible for-profit retail, food, personal services, and creative businesses with a grant up to $10,000 per brick and mortar business. The program provides short-term working capital assistance to support businesses with inventory purchases (perishable and non-perishable), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) purchases or upgrades, and rent payments to enable businesses to open and ensure the retention of jobs after the severe interruption of business related to COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

Grant applications were available from May 14, 2020 until June 12, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EDT and are now closed. There is no guarantee that you will secure a grant nor receive the maximum amount of funds. Grant funds are based on a business’s documented proof of need. Applications will be reviewed after the June 12, 2020 deadline.   

Click here to check your business's eligibility for the program.

Grant Overview

This Program is intended to contribute to a for-profit retailer, food-based, personal service, or creative business's ability to open and ensure employee retention post COVID-19 social distancing policies. Each completed grant application will be reviewed on a case by case basis. 

Grant applicants may apply for one or more of these eligible types of working capital assistance:

  1. Paying for commercial mortgage and/or rent
  2. Purchase of perishable or non-perishable inventory
  3. Purchase or upgrade of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to comply with new public health guidelines, including, but not limited to: plexiglass at point of sale, masks and anti-bacterial pumps for customers, and development of new designated pick up stations for customers.  
  4. Purchase of digital resources needed to establish or enhance an existing business online, including but not limited to: website upgrades to better assist with online sales or delivery features.

Other items may be approved as determined by city and HUD guidelines. This grant cannot be used for any construction-related work for your business (e.g. painting, electrical, plumbing, or carpentry) or payment of past bills owed. 

If you are interested in a grant for physical interior improvements (including furniture, operating equipment like kitchen ventilators or refrigerators, or new point of sale cash registers,click here for information about the Small Business Enhancement Program.

Businesses that are already participating in other city grant programs, including the recent Relief Grant, can still apply to the COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program. Some exclusions may apply.

Grant Guidelines & Requirements 

  1. Applicants must meet the HUD Eligibility Requirements in order to apply and participate in the Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program. Click here to check your eligibility. If you are not sure if you are eligible, please contact Pardis Saffari at psaffari@cambridgema.govto confirm. 
  2. Applicants must be compliant with all State and local laws and regulations pertaining to zoning, licensing, and permits.
  3. Applicants must be a brick and mortar retail, restaurant, personal services, or creative for-profit business that has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 Social Distancing Measures (e.g. you closed your business).
  4. A DUNS number (click here to register for one)
  5. A copy of your lease or mortgage bill
  6. Copies of most recent inventory bills or quotes for upcoming purchases (for PPE materials, website upgrades, or other items needed to re-open)

Note: The use and possession of cannabis is illegal under federal law for any purpose. Although cannabis businesses are permitted in the City of Cambridge, the Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant is a program federally funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, therefore cannabis businesses are not eligible for the program.

Grant Criteria

These criteria are in line with HUD-requirements and the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Comprehensive Plan. Please note, that even a business that meets the criteria is not guaranteed to receive a grant due to funding constraints of this program.

Your brick and mortar for-profit retail, restaurant, personal service, or creative business must be HUD eligible (required). Once your business is confirmed HUD eligible, the following criteria will be reviewed:

  • Ownership
    • Women owned (1 point)
    • Minority owned (1 point)
  • Type of business
    • Brick and mortar, local, for-profit retail, restaurant, and personal services (e.g. hair salon or massage) business open to the public (4 points)
    • Brick and mortar, local, for-profit business that is open for appointment or special services (e.g., medical services, insurance, real estate, day care) that are open to the public - (1 point)
  • Did not apply to the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant offered through the City of Cambridge (1 point)

More Information

For more information, please contact the Pardis Saffari at psaffari@cambridgema.gov

Frequently Asked Questions

I received a grant award from the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant. Can I still get $10,000 from this grant?

No. The total funding you can received from both grants is no more than $10,000. For example, if you received $6,000 from the Relief Grant, then you will receive no more than $4,000 from the Recovery Grant, for a maximum of $10,000. Similar to the Relief Grant, there is no guarantee a business will receive full funds.

Do I really need a DUNS number?

Yes. If you are unsure if you have one, please contact Pardis Saffari for guidance at psaffari@cambridgema.govYou can also apply for one here. Registration of a DUNS number is free.

I am a home-based business. Can I apply for this grant?

No. This grant is only available to for-profit brick and mortar retail, restaurant, and personal and professional service businesses.

I am a non-profit based in Cambridge. Can I apply for this grant?

No. This grant is federally funded, and federal guidelines for this funding source do not allow us to use these funds for non-profit organizations. For sources that non-profits are eligible for, please check out this resource list here.

I am a Cambridge resident, but my business is another town. Can I apply for this grant?

No. Your business must be located in Cambridge in order to apply for this grant.

I don’t have a new invoice for goods I need to buy. Can I give an old one as a sample?

Yes, as long as the same products/services will be bought with the grant funds.

I don’t have a lease, or my lease expired. Can I give you copies of canceled checks showing regular rent payment?

If you don’t have a copy of your lease with you, please provide at least 3 months of cancelled rent check payments in your application. The checks should be made out to the property owner.

What do you mean by “proof of need”?

“Proof of need” are documents that show what you plan on using your grant money for – it could be your lease and/or invoices from suppliers.

My business/home is in one of the City’s NRS areas. Do I need to supply the city with my tax returns?

If your business or Cambridge home address is located within one of the city’s NRS areas, you do not need to upload your personal tax returns. Only business owners who are, income-eligible need to upload tax returns.

I want assistance in applying to this grant and filling out the application. Can someone help me?

Yes. Please contact Pardis Saffari at psaffari@cambridgema.gov or leave a message at 617-349-4654 and someone will get back to you about scheduling an appointment. Translation services can be made available.

I am a Cambridge business and I am not HUD-eligible. Are there any Cambridge resources available to me?

For Cambridge non-HUD eligible businesses, check out:

Page was posted on 5/11/2020 5:50 PM
Page was last modified on 6/12/2020 12:17 PM
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