Mayor Sylvester Turner briefed reporters Aug. 17 on the $15 million program, which is being funded with dollars from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Here is everything business owners need to know to apply.
What businesses are eligible to apply?
Small businesses generating less than $2 million in gross revenue prior to the coronavirus pandemic located within Houston city limits are eligible for the program. Small chambers of commerce may also apply. Businesses must be up to date on tax payments, have been in operation for at least one year prior to March 1, 2020, and provide proof that revenue was impacted due to coronavirus restrictions.
Where do business owners apply?
Applications must be submitted electronically at www.cityofhouston-sberp.org. The portal opens at 8 a.m. Aug. 19 and closes at midnight Sept. 4.
How are businesses chosen?
Businesses are not chosen on a first-come, first -erved basis. Instead, businesses in historically disenfranchised neighborhoods and that employ low-income residents will receive priority. Businesses over five years old and with a demonstrated ability to withstand challenges also rank higher in the scoring matrix developed to choose applicants.
How are funds distributed?
Once selected, businesses must commit to completing a technical assistance program aimed at teaching business owners to adapt to coronavirus mitigation efforts and to withstand the financial impacts of the pandemic. Owners will receive half of the grant funding upfront and the other half upon completion of the training program.