Cambridge Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant

The Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program is a special program helping Cambridge’s U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (or HUD) eligible retail, food, personal services, and creative for-profit businesses with a grant up to $6,000 per brick and mortar business. The program provides short-term working capital assistance to enable the viability of the business and the retention of jobs during the severe interruption of business related to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing.

Grant applications are only available starting March 26, 2020 until May 1, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EDT. We will prioritize businesses that were more severely affected by the state and local closures. We have received many applications. There is no guarantee that you will a grant.

As of April 15, 2020, we are fully subscribed, but will hold new applications in case there is an additional funding round.

May 1, 2020, 12:00 p.m. - The grant program has closed.

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

Grant Overview

The COVID-19 Relief Grant Program must help contribute to a small business's ability to remain open and with employee retention. Each completed grant application will be reviewed on a case by case basis. 

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

  1. Paying for commercial mortgage, rent and other bills (utilities, accounts payable)
  2. Employee wages
  3. Resources to get business established online (for example, a business needed to revamp website to make delivery available to customers)
  4. Perishable inventory that was lost due to an interruption of business 

Other items may be allowed upon review by city staff and HUD. This grant cannot be used for any construction-related work for your business (e.g. painting, electrical, plumbing, or carpentry). If you are interested in a grant for new equipment or interior improvements, click here. 

Businesses that are already participating in other city grant programs can still apply to the COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.  

Grant Guidelines & Requirements 

  1. Applicants must meet the HUD Eligibility Requirements in order to apply and participate in the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. Click here to check your eligibility. If you are not sure if you are eligible, please contact Pardis Saffari at psaffari@cambridgema.gov to confirm. 
  2. Your brick and mortar business must have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 Social Distancing Measures (e.g. you closed your business, had to lay people off). Priority will be given to businesses that were required to completely close down their business by order of the Governor.
  3. A DUNS number (click here to register for one)
  4. Provide a copy of your lease or mortgage/tax bill
  5. Provide four (4) weeks of pay roll (if grant funds will be going towards payroll)
  6. Provide copies of accounts payable bills (if grant funds will be going towards loss inventory)
  7. Complete the full grant application and agree to complete a post-grant survey that will be given to you six (6) months after you receive the grant. 

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 Relief Grant is a federally funded program by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, therefore cannabis businesses are not eligible for the program.

Grant Criteria

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

Your brick and mortar 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)
    -Women and minority owned (2 points)
  • 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, construction, day care) - (2 points)
    - Business to Business (B2B) Establishment (1 point)
  • COVID-19 Impact

 - Sales – greater than 25% decrease in sales from a similar time frame to the previous year (2 points) 

- Loss of employees (1 point)

Click here for the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Application

For More Information

If you have questions about the Small Business COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant, please contact Pardis Saffari at psaffari@cambridgema.gov.

Page was posted on 3/26/2020 10:42 AM
Page was last modified on 5/1/2020 12:16 PM
Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement


Service Requests

Enter a service request via Commonwealth Connect for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc., click here