Portland Small Business Relief Fund

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Portland Small Business Relief Fund2020-03-30T15:33:37+00:00

Project Description

Portland Small Business Relief Fund

Questions about your application? Please check out our FAQs first, then contact us via email.

Need additional business support? Contact the City of Portland information line at 503-823-4000.

The Portland Small Business Relief Fund will provide grants and no interest loans to support Portland small businesses experiencing hardships related to COVID-19.

The goal of the fund is to provide immediate relief by helping business owners retain their businesses and their employees as a bridge of support before additional state and federal resources become available in the coming months.

Prosper Portland has $1.38 million of available funding to offer impacted community businesses through the grant program.

Prosper Portland will manage the application and selection process for these emergency relief grants. We will use specific criteria to prioritize support for the most vulnerable businesses.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) partners will process grant payments once applicants are selected to simplify and speed up the grant disbursement process.

Prosper Portland is working with private, public and philanthropic funding partners to generate additional support for businesses.

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  • Mon, March 30: Applications open

  • Wed, April 1, 2020: Applications close

  • Tue, April 7: Grant recipients selected

  • Fri, April 10: funding provided

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Equity at Forefront of Guiding Principles

The City of Portland is committed to centering racial equity in our collective responses to COVID-19. Recognizing that Black, Indigenous and People of Color, individuals with disabilities, and individuals experiencing poverty are often disproportionally affected, the City of Portland is dedicating resources and creating support systems to ensure this crisis does not exacerbate existing inequities. We also acknowledge that the Asian Pacific Islander community has been particularly impacted by increased racism and xenophobia since this crisis began.

Three guiding principles inform the development of the Portland Small Business Relief Fund as well as consideration of further near-term efforts to support economic stability:

The Portland Small Business Relief Fund provides support to small businesses in sectors that have been directly impacted by the necessary COVID-19 public health requirements and prioritizes businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, Asian Pacific Islander and People of Color and/or women and employees. The median white family has 41 times more wealth than the median African American or Native American household and 22 times more wealth than the median Latino family. Systemic racism and gender bias further constrict access to capital; the average size loan for women-owned business was 31 percent less that for male-owned businesses. In times of economic growth, the wealth gap and constrained access to capital creates barriers to starting or growing a business; it can come at a devastating financial cost to business owners and their employees in economic downturns.

To provide resources quickly, the process to develop and refine this proposal incorporates the input of existing equity-centered networks and advisory bodies, leaders from other cities, and financial partners. Partners from the Inclusive Business Resource Network, Neighborhood Prosperity Network, multicultural chambers, and CDFIs provided input on eligibility requirements, urgent business needs, grant and loan terms, and organizational capacity. As a result of this input, the proposal presents a framework grounded in racial equity priorities that leverages the trusted and nimble deployment infrastructure of our local CFDI partners. 

The Small Business Relief Fund seeks to leverage the respective strengths among Prosper Portland and its partnership networks. Prosper Portland will pair its expertise in grant program development with its partners’ trusted infrastructure to disburse funds rapidly. Lessons from other major cities show that high application volume will drastically outpace available funds. Knowing that demand will surpass resources, staff intend to engage with the Council for Economic and Racial Equity over the coming days to further refine prioritization criteria. 

Small Business Relief Fund Grant
($2,000 to a maximum of $10,000)

  • Businesses that are public facing and directly impacted by new COVID-19 public health requirements and/or have experienced 25% or more decline in revenue since Feb 1, 2020
  • Businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, Asian Pacific Islander and People of Color and/or women
  • Businesses for whom resources will help them stay in business
  • Businesses who continue to pay employees and/or provide healthcare and other insurance during COVID-19
  • Simple online application process managed by Prosper Portland
  • Prosper Portland will use established and vetted criteria to rank qualified applications in order of priority
  • Grant Timeline
    • Contract with disbursement partners (March 25-30)
    • Application live Monday March 30
    • Application closes Wednesday April 1
    • Grant recipients selected Tuesday April 7 and connected with disbursement partners
    • Funding provided by Friday April 10

Disbursement partners and business advisors through the Inclusive Business Resource Network will work with grant/loan recipients to identify a stabilization strategy and apply funds to most critical expenses, keeping in mind areas where other disaster relief funds or other financial products or solutions may be more appropriate supports (i.e. lease payment extension agreement with landlord, low-interest loan through SBA, business interruption insurance, etc.).

The City of Portland $2 million investment in loans and grants will be funded as follows:

  • $1 million from City of Portland general fund for maximum $10,000 grants to Portland small businesses
    • $5,000 max for businesses where owner is the only employee and businesses are home-based or do not have real estate rental payments
    • $10,000 max for all other eligible businesses
  •  $1 million from Prosper Portland Enterprise Zone funds for up to $50,000 zero-interest loans
  • Franchises
  • Locally owned businesses with more than three locations
  • Businesses or individuals whose primary revenue is generated from rental/income-producing properties
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Business must meet one of the following:
    • Business is public-facing (e.g. retail, coffee shop, food service) and is directly impacted by new public health requirements related to COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Business has experienced 25% or more decline in revenue since Feb 1, 2020 (e.g. manufacturing, industrial, office-related, traded-sector).
  • Businesses must have $2 million or less in annual gross revenue
  • Business must have 50 or fewer employees
  • Principal place of business must be located within the City of Portland
  • Business must have been in operation and in compliance with the State of Oregon registration requirements on or prior to July 1, 2019. (Sole Proprietors operating under the owner’s name are not required to register with the State of Oregon). 

Frequently Asked Questions

¿Puedo marcar más de una opción sobre cómo planeo usar los fondos?2020-03-30T06:05:02+00:00

Le pedimos que marque solo una opción que represente su primera prioridad. Después puede agregar cualquier otra información de cómo planea usar los los fondos en el cuadro de texto provisto.

¿Tendré que proveer alguna documentación de comprobación como parte de la aplicación?2020-03-30T06:04:40+00:00

No necesitará proporcionar ninguna documentación de respaldo como parte de la aplicación, pero verificaremos la información que provee en su aplicación. 

Si soy dueño de más de un negocio, ¿podría calificar para recibir un subsidio para cada negocio?2020-03-30T06:04:17+00:00

Debe enviar una solicitud por separado para cada negocio. Cada empresa es elegible para una subsidio y cada empresa se evalúa por separado. 

Califico para beneficios de desempleo debido a la ampliación de beneficios para trabajadores independientes bajo la Ley federal CARES (Ayuda de Ayuda y Seguridad Económica CORNAVIRUS). ¿No soy elegible?2020-03-30T06:03:54+00:00

Si usted es propietario de un negocio (incluidos propietarios únicos, trabajadores independientes, contratistas independientes) y resulta que califica para beneficios de desempleo, aún podría ser elegible para esta oportunidad de subsidio. 

Soy un profesional independiente / contratista independiente / “solo-preneur”, ¿soy elegible para recibir uno de los subsidios?2020-03-30T06:03:29+00:00

Si estaba funcionando como negocio y cumplía con los requisitos de registro del Estado de Oregón desde el 1 de julio de 2019 o antes, podría ser elegible para recibir fondos. 

Nota: Las empresas que operan bajo el nombre del propietario no están obligadas a registrarse en el Estado de Oregon. Para obtener más información, visite el sitio web del Secretario de Estado de Oregón

¿Tengo una mejor oportunidad para recibir fondos si presento mi solicitud tan pronto como se abra el proceso?2020-03-30T06:02:43+00:00

No, este no es un proceso por orden de llegada. Cada solicitud presentada será revisada. Tenga paciencia e intente nuevamente más tarde si no puede acceder a la aplicación en línea inmediatamente. 

¿La aplicación está disponible en otros idiomas?2020-03-30T06:02:23+00:00

Si. La aplicación está disponible en inglés, español, vietnamita, ruso y chino simplificado. 

Si tuve que despedir empleados, ¿estoy descalificado para esta oportunidad para aplicar por un subsidio?2020-03-30T06:02:03+00:00

No, las aplicaciones se escogerán considerando una gran variedad de elementos, que incluyen soporte y retención de empleados, resiliencia empresarial, y el impacto de COVID-19 sobre su negocio. 

¿Cómo debo calcular mi disminución de ingresos?2020-03-30T06:01:39+00:00

Use su mejor criterio para estimar cómo sus ingresos se vieron afectados por COVID-19. 

1) Compare sus ventas este año con sus ventas del año pasado
2) Compare sus ventas actuales con sus ventas proyectadas 

¿Cómo calculo mis ingresos brutos?2020-03-30T06:01:13+00:00

Sus ingresos brutos son sus ventas comerciales en total ANTES de cualquier deducción. Por ejemplo, si vendió un vestido por $ 100, su ingreso bruto es de $ 100. 

¿Qué información debo tener listo para mi solicitud de subsidio y / o préstamo?2020-03-30T08:09:05+00:00

Tenga esta información a mano cuando esté listo para aplicar: 

What information should I gather for my grant and/or loan application?2020-03-27T15:07:16+00:00

Please have these items on hand when you’re ready to apply:

  • State of Oregon Business Registration number
  • 2019 annual gross revenue – how much you sold in 2019
  • Your best estimate of revenue loss due to COVID-19
  • Number of employees
  • Years in business
Will I need to provide any backup documentation as part of the application?2020-03-29T14:41:15+00:00

You will not need to provide any backup documentation as part of the application, but we will verify information you provide in your application 

How do I know if I’m a public-facing business?2020-03-30T17:18:53+00:00

For the purposes of this grant, we consider publicfacing businesses as those impacted by Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order 20-12 calling for closure of specific business types. You can see the Executive Order here (https://www.oregon.gov/gov/admin/Pages/eo_20-12.aspx) You can find translated versions of the Executive Order and other state update information at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19. 

My business is registered to an address outside of Portland but I sometimes sell in the city of Portland; am I eligible?2020-03-30T17:19:26+00:00

No, the address on your business registry is the address used to verify your eligibility 

How do I calculate gross revenue?2020-03-27T15:07:50+00:00

Your gross revenue is your total business sales BEFORE any deductions. For example, if you sold a dress for $100 than your gross revenue is $100.

I can’t find a field to enter my 2019 gross sales; what should I do?2020-03-30T17:16:40+00:00

The application does not ask for exact sales figures. You will need to know if your gross sales were below the $2M eligibility threshold and if your decrease in sales is at least 25%. If your application is selected you may be asked for verification.  

How do I estimate my decline in revenue?2020-03-29T14:18:36+00:00

Use your best judgment to estimate how your revenue was impacted by COVID-19.

  1. Compare your sales this year to your sales last year
  2. Compare your actual sales to your projected sales
If I had to lay people off am I disqualified for this grant funding opportunity?2020-03-27T15:09:40+00:00

No, applications are scored on a variety of elements, including employee support/retention, business resiliency, and the impact of COVID-19 on the business.

Is the application available in other languages?2020-03-29T14:19:56+00:00

Yes. The application is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian and simplified Chinese.

Do I have a better chance if I submit my application as soon as the process opens?2020-03-27T15:10:41+00:00

No, this is not a first-come first-served process. Each completed application received will be reviewed. Please be patient and try again later if you’re unable to access the online application.

I am a freelancer/ independent contractor/ “solo-preneur.” Am I eligible for grant funding?2020-03-30T08:07:10+00:00

If you were in operation and in compliance with the State of Oregon registration requirements on or prior to July 1, 2019 you may be eligible for funding.

Businesses operating under the owner’s own name are not required to register with the State of Oregon. For more information visit the Oregon Secretary of State website under the question, “Are all businesses required to register and use an assumed business name?”

I qualify for unemployment due to the expanded unemployment benefits for freelancers under the federal CARES (CORONAVIRUS Aid Relief and Economic Security) Act. Am I eligible?2020-03-29T14:36:02+00:00

If you are business owner (including sole proprietors, freelancers, independent contractors) and if you qualify for unemployment benefits  you still may be eligible for this grant opportunity.  

If I own more than one business, will I be eligible to receive a grant for each business?2020-03-29T14:39:31+00:00

You should submit a separate application for each business. Each business is eligible for one grant, and each business is evaluated separately.  

Can I check more than one option for how I plan to use the funds?2020-03-29T14:45:45+00:00

We ask that you check only the one option that is your first priority, and then add any other uses you plan to spend the funds on in the text box provided.  

I need to make a change to my application. What should I do?2020-03-30T17:20:09+00:00

If you made a mistake on your application, we are verifying the information that you have submitted and can update information as needed if your application is selected. 

 We are not able to update your answers if you are dissatisfied with your application responses. You will need to resubmit your application. 


COMING SOON: Small Business Relief Fund Loan (up to $50,000)

  • Business must be registered with the City of Portland on or prior to July 1, 2019 
  • Businesses must have $5 million or less in annual gross revenue 
  • Business must provide owner with primary source of income (more than 50% of monthly income should come from the business) 
  • Job preservation, particularly for POC, women, low income individuals and individuals in East Portland and Neighborhood Prosperity Network service areas 
  • Businesses located in industrial districts 
  • Businesses that pay employees $15/hour or more and will use resources to maintain level of employment 
  • 3- or 5-year term, 0% interest rate 
  • Payments deferred for 12 months 
  • Note: a loan term of 5 years will be provided to businesses that retain employees and/or continue to pay for health care premiums 
  • Loan balance is due at the end of the term. If it not, interest could accrue at 8% until balance is paid off. 

We anticipate using a similar process as the approach identified above. Timeline and details to be finalized in near future in concert with key funding and administration partners. 

Resources from both grant and loan funds may not be used for personal uses or those prohibited by federal (except legal cannabis), state, or local law or regulation.