Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund

The Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund offered grants, technical assistance, and low-interest loans to 500+ small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund was a collaborative effort to support small businesses through the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This response involved partners across the local small business landscape, including a coalition of Neighborhood Referral Partners, local Entrepreneur Support Organizations and Technical Assistance Providers, funders, execution partners, and leaders from the City of Columbus and Franklin County. This swift response was enabled by collaboration across partners already occurring through the work of the Columbus Small Business Agenda – a City-led effort to drive a more coordinated, connected, and inclusive small business ecosystem.

Relief provided to small businesses to help:

Survive the crisis, maintaining operations and employees

Re-train employees

Safely get back to business to service their customers

Take advantage of growth opportunities

3 Types of Relief

Financial Relief

To provide financial assistance to existing small businesses including enterprises operating in the City of Columbus and Franklin County, in the form of grants and loans, with the goal of job retention.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Procurement Assistance

To provide financial support to assist existing small businesses in securing PPE and/or making necessary COVID-19 health/safety improvements required to re-open their businesses in the City of Columbus. This criteria is the same for businesses outside the City of Columbus but within the balance of Franklin County.

Training and Technical Assistance

Provide Pre and Post-application training and technical support to grant/loan applicants and recipients, of existing small businesses, seeking to maintain operations and retain existing and potentially add new employees in the City of Columbus; and to track program metrics.

“This grant will help keep me moving forward in my business and keeping my business open in this difficult time. I have learned that I will have to do business in a differently, meaning (virtually). I will have to get a website going and other marketing tools. This grant will help me keep my doors open to present clients and continue to pay my current responsibilities (rent, insurance, supplies, etc.).”

– Victoria Wilson Corbin, Owner, J.C. Financial Concepts, LLC

“As a small business owner, the last thing we were prepared for financially was the sudden overhaul of the way we conducted business at Bake Me Happy. This fund came in handy when we had to move quickly to save our small business. The process was relatively simple (compared to many of the other funds we have applied to) and we look forward to the extra technical support the fund will provide.”

– Letha Pugh, Co-Founder, Bake Me Happy, LLC

“This grant made it possible for me to transition my studio programming to a virtual format and continue to pay my instructors, even in the face of substantial economic losses sustained as a result of the pandemic. The structure of my company meant that we were not eligible for PPP assistance, so this program was literally a business saver. I am so excited to be able to continue doing business on the south side.”

– Rachel Nace Maynard, Owner, Inspiration to Movement

Impacts

The Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund has awarded more than $7MM in funding to 555 small business owners.

100% of approved grants went to businesses who have seen severe or substantial reductions in revenue due to COVID-19.

74%
Minority-owned
69%
Black-owned
43%
Woman-owned
84%
<5 employees

Fund Program Overview & Requirements

Businesses citywide were eligible for Recovery Grants and Pivot Loans if they otherwise meet the qualifications.

 
Recovery Grants:
Small Business Return Safely Grants (Personal Protective Equipment):
Pivot Loans:




Purpose:




• Provide financial assistance to small businesses in the City of Columbus, or for business owners outside of the City within Franklin County.

• Grant assistance to help sustain their business operations through the COVID-19 pandemic

• Goal of maintaining existing business operations and retaining jobs.
• Provide small businesses throughout the City and Franklin County with financial support to secure PPE

• Also supports other necessary COVID-19 health/safety improvements required to re- open their businesses safely for City residents and their employees.
• Provide small businesses in the City of Columbus, access to low interest loan funding if a business has identified new markets for existing products or new services or products lines that the business can expand into.

• Loans for businesses in the City may be forgivable after 3 months subject to key benchmarks being met (including participation in TA program and appropriate use of funds).




Who is Eligible?:




• Businesses operating within City of Columbus municipal boundaries, or for business owners outside of the City within Franklin County.

• <25 employees, preference given to <5 employees.

• Sales reduced (>25%) by COVID-19 since March 17, 2020.
• Businesses operating within City of Columbus municipal boundaries or within Franklin County.

• <25 employees
• Businesses operating within City of Columbus municipal boundaries*

• <25 employees, preference given to <5 employees

*If your business is outside the City of Columbus but within the balance of Franklin County, and you desire loan financing, you may directly contact the Economic and Community Development Institute at https://www.ecdi.org/invest/loan-program




Funding per Business:




• Grants up to $10,000

• Amount determined by review of application
• Grants up to $5,000 to reimburse for purchase of appropriate PPE and COVID-19 health/safety improvement purchased since 3/17/20, with 1:1 match requirement by qualifying business.

• Amount determined by review of application.
• Maximum loan amount of 50% of Total Business/Project Expansion/ Opportunity Cost up to $20,000 (whichever is less).

• Low interest rate, capped at 1%.

• Amount determined by review of application.




What is Required?:




• Signed business tax return to confirm annual revenue

• Signed personal tax return to confirm personal income

Completed application form which includes:
• Basic business information

• A description of the impact of COVID-19 on the business (including revenue)

• Proposed recovery plan for COVID-19

• Budget for use of funds

• Confirmation of whether the business has received PPP or EIDL funding

If funded:
• Business must participate in mandatory Technical Assistance program

• Business must provide a one-page annual status report
• Receipts dated 3/17/20 or later for PPE and COVID-19 health/safety improvement purchases, as proof of payment made by the business.

• Confirmation of whether the business has received PPP or EIDL funding.

If funded:
• Business must provide a one-page annual status report.
• Signed business tax return to confirm annual revenue

• Signed personal tax return to confirm personal income

Completed application form which includes:
• Basic business information

• A description of the impact of COVID-19 on the business (including revenue)

• Proposed recovery plan for COVID-19

• Budget for use of funds

• Confirmation of whether the business has received PPP or EIDL funding

If funded:
• Business must participate in mandatory Technical Assistance program

• Business must provide a one-page annual status report
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING PARTNERS:

Entrepreneur Support Organizations & Technical Assistance Providers

Business owners will work with one of the following partner organizations to submit an application and will receive ongoing technical assistance and support.

Funding & Advocacy Partners

 

Neighborhood Referral Partners

Review Committee

The review committee consists of partners from:

The Columbus-Franklin County COVID-19 Small Business Response and Recovery Fund is brought to you through funding and support led by the City of Columbus, Franklin County and a community-led coalition of partners. Rev1 Ventures is pleased to host this microsite and serve as the administrator for the Recovery and Return Safely grants.

Terms & Conditions