San Jose Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) Microenterprise Grant Program

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The City of San Jose has set aside $2,500,000 of its Community Development Block Grant funding to provide $15,000 grants to microenterprises located in the City of San Jose to cover working capital and business re-startup needs due to the COVID-19 crisis. Opportunity Fund will administer the grant program on behalf of the city.

For more information see our Frequently Asked Questions page

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Eligibility Requirements

  • Business owner must live in Santa Clara County
  • Physical business address must be located within the City of San Jose
  • Business must have 5 or fewer full-time employees including the business owner (Businesses may include part-time employees in its full-time equivalent count, 2 part-time employees = 1 full-time employee)
  • Business must be active, in good standing (no active bankruptcies), and have been in business prior to March 1, 2019
  • Applicant must not have received a Paycheck Protection Program or a SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan
  • Applicant must own at least 51% of the business (or be one of two 50% owners that are a part of the same household)
  • Maximum household income of business owner at or below 80% of area median income by family size (please refer to the San Jose income limits chart here) If the applicant meets all initial eligibility requirements, you will be required to verify household income with supporting documents for all adult members of a household
  • Grant funds must be used to cover working capital and business re-startup needs due to the COVID-19 crisis. For full list of eligible uses, please see below
  • Applicant must submit a completed application before the deadline of August 28, 2020 at 5pm PT
  • Priority will be given to essential businesses as defined by the Santa Clara County public health order

Eligible Uses of Grant Proceeds

If awarded, the applicant must use funds for eligible uses only and may need to provide proof that the funds were used for the eligible purpose.

  • Working capital- rent, insurance, utilities
  • Working capital – staff salaries/wages
  • Purchases – supplies, inventory
  • Expenses for marketing, advertising, website Development
  • Website licensing fees

Ineligible Uses of Grant Proceeds

  • Payment of personal expenses and debts
  • Lobbying, political activities or religious activities
  • Construction/Renovations
  • Relocation of business outside of San Jose
  • Refinancing business debt on credit cards
  • Pay-off of business taxes and fines
  • Payment of costs from another business

Ineligible Industries

  • Businesses that are franchises, chains, or restricted to patrons above the age of 18 will not be eligible for a grant
  • Nonprofit organizations are not eligible and will not be considered for a grant

Initial Application Document Requirements

  • DUNS Number (click here to request your DUNS number if you do not already have one)
  • Valid government-issued photo ID – Copy or Picture of a valid CA ID or Driver’s License (color copy, front and back)
  • 2019 Personal Tax Return (with all schedules, W-2s and 1099s, or IRS Statement of Non-Filing)
  • 2018 Personal Tax Return (with all schedules, W-2s and 1099s, or IRS Statement of Non-Filing)

Grant Process

  1. Prescreen: Applicants fill out a 7 question prescreen form to determine eligibility
  2. Full Grant Application: Eligible applicants will be directed to fill out the full application
  3. Document Upload: After the initial application review, if the application is complete and eligible, applicants will submit the rest of their documents. For the full list of documents required at this stage, please see below. 
  4. Survey and Coaching: If selected for the grant, applicants will submit a demographic survey required by HUD and enroll in a financial coaching session with our partners TrustPlus
  5. Grant Disbursal: After we collect your bank account information we will disburse your grant funds!

Full Document Requirements

Business documents:

  • 2019 business tax return (if not yet filed, please include P&L for 2019)
  • 2018 business tax return (if in business during 2018)
  • Current (2020) business profit & loss statement
  • Three (3) most recent and consecutive business savings and checking account statements, all pages

Household income documents:

  • Current identification (ie. driver’s license, State of California identification card, or Student ID) for ALL adult household members or birth certificates for all household members under the age of eighteen (18)
  • Three (3) most recent and consecutive savings and checking account statements, for ALL adult household members, all pages
  • Two (2) most recent income tax returns for ALL adult household members
    • Please include W-2s, 1099s, and Schedule C if self-employed
    • If they did not file income tax returns, they may be required to complete a no-income-tax affidavit form
  • Three (3) months of most recent and consecutive paycheck stubs for ALL adult household members
  • Other income documentation to provide, if applicable, for ALL adult household members
    • Social Security/SSI (submit copy of most recent award letter or direct deposit bank statement)
    • Retirement/Pension (submit copy of most recent retirement check/statement)
    • Disability/SSDI (Statement from Employment Development Department and Letter from Doctor on letterhead showing how long you will be on disability)
    • Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF)
    • Rental Income Receipts (submit copies)
    • Unemployment (Claim Approval Letter)

Submission Guidance

It is recommended that before completing and submitting the online form, respondents save their answers in a separate backup document, as your work may not be saved if you leave the web page before submitting the application. You may also lose your work if your internet is disconnected, or as a result of other potential web browser issues. We cannot accept changes to your application once it has been submitted, so please review it carefully.  You will see a confirmation page after successful completion of this application.

During the application process, businesses will be asked to provide personal information including name, address, phone number, family size, household income, gender, race, and ethnicity of owners and employees to satisfy federal CDBG reporting requirements.

Eligibility

Business owners must submit a completed application, meet all federal requirements, and provide documentation in order to be eligible for funding. All applications will be reviewed upon application closure date. Incomplete applications or applicants not providing accurate data will be ineligible for grant funding.

Verification of Household Income

Applicants who meet all eligibility requirements, and whose applications are complete, will be randomly selected to advance as a finalist to the Household Income Verification process. Being selected as a finalist does not guarantee you will receive a grant. A documents request will be sent to finalists via email, and finalists will have 48 hours to return all the documents requested. If documents are not received within 48 hours, we will move to the next applicant in the eligible applicant pool.

Privacy

Information submitted as part of grant applications will remain confidential to the general public and any fellow applicants. Your Personal Information may be disclosed to the City of San Jose, its employees or agents, and TrustPlus, as both the City of San Jose and TrustPlus are necessary to the administration of the grant program. Additionally, your Personal Information may be disclosed to our necessary service providers, who provide services such as website hosting, data analysis, information technology and related infrastructure provision, customer service, and the processing of applicants and transactions. Applicants agree to hold harmless Opportunity Fund (“OF”), its affiliates, members, partners, and staff, for any losses, damages, costs, or expenses, of any kind relating to the use or the adequacy, accuracy, or completeness of any personal information provided. For further information about the ways that your information may be used by Opportunity Fund, please see Opportunity Fund’s Privacy Policy and or our Terms of Use.

Publicity Consent

To help Opportunity Fund further its mission, and by submission of their application, grant recipients consent to the use by Opportunity Fund of recipient’s name, city and state of residence, biographical and personal background, statements, voice, image, and/or likeness, as well as a license to use recipient’s business logo, if applicable, in any format, including photos, film, video, audio, print, or electronic (together, the “Materials”), and grant to OF the unrestricted, perpetual, and worldwide right and license to use the Materials as OF determines, in its sole discretion, is appropriate to promote and otherwise carry out its mission. Recipients further agree that OF may make the Materials available on its websites, in its publications, or through any other media, including social networking platforms. Recipient understands and specifically agrees that use of the Materials does not entitle recipient to inspect or approve the use of the Materials, receive notice of their use or publication, or receive any payment in any manner whatsoever. Recipients can revoke their consent at any time by sending a written notice to OF at 111 W St John St, Suite 800, San Jose, CA 95113. Following receipt of the notice, OF will use reasonable efforts to promptly discontinue use of the Materials.

Until notified, applicants must agree not to share any status as a finalist publicly, including but not limited to all social media platforms, news media, or local publications.

USA PATRIOT Act Notice

Please note: to help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. You may be asked to affirm your name, address, date of birth and other information that will allow us to identify you; you consent to allow Opportunity Fund to provide this information to third party business partners in order to verify the accuracy of this information. We may also ask for your driver’s license or other identifying documents to confirm your identity.

Consent to Contact

Grant applicants consent to and agree that Opportunity Fund, its agents and third-party service providers, may contact applicants using written, electronic or verbal means using the contact information provided, including a number for a cellular phone or other wireless device, regardless of whether you incur charges as a result. Opportunity Fund may also monitor and record telephone calls regarding your account to assure the quality of the services provided or for other reasons. You also expressly consent and agree that you may be contacted by Opportunity Fund using manual calling methods, prerecorded or artificial voice mail messages, emails and/or automatic telephone dialing systems.

Equal Opportunity Compliance

This Program will be implemented in ways consistent with the city’s commitment to state and federal equal opportunity laws. No person or business shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefit of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with CDBG program funds on the basis of his or her religion, religious affiliation, age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, sex, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, or other arbitrary cause.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is providing the funds for these grants? 

  • In response to COVID-19, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $2,500,000 in CDBG funding to San Jose to provide $15,000 grants to microenterprises to cover working capital and business re-startup needs due to the COVID-19 crisis. Opportunity Fund is administering the program on behalf of the City of San Jose. 

When are the applications due? 

What languages are the applications available in? 

  • The online application is in English; however, PDF translations of the application, the website information page, and the FAQs are available on the website in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Simplified and Traditional Chinese. 

What are the eligibility requirements? 

  • Business must be for-profit and physically located within the City of San Jose (determined by zip code) 
  • Business owner must live in Santa Clara County 
  • Business must have 5 or fewer full-time employees including the business owner (Businesses may include part-time employees in its full-time equivalent count, 2 part-time employees = 1 full-time employee) Business must be active, in good standing (no active bankruptcies), and have been in business prior to March 1, 2019 
  • Applicant must own at least 51% of the business (or have two 50% owners that are a part of the same household) 
  • Priority will be given to essential businesses as defined by the Santa Clara County public health order 
  • Total household income of business owner must be at or below 80% of area median income by family size (please refer to the San Jose income limits chart here

What businesses are NOT eligible to apply? 

  • Businesses that are franchises, chains, or restricted to patrons above the age of 18 will not be eligible for the grant. 
  • Nonprofit organizations are not eligible and will not be considered for a grant 

What if I received a PPP or EIDL Loan? 

  • Businesses that have received a Paycheck Protection Program loan or an SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan may not apply for this grant. 

What is the size of the grant? 

  • Grants of $15,000 will be awarded to applicants who meet all eligibility requirements. 

What can the grant be used for? 

  • Grants must be used exclusively to cover working capital such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, supplies, and inventory. 

What should grant funds not be used for? 

  • Grant funds may NOT be used for: 
    • Payment of personal expenses and debts 
    • Lobbying, political activities, or religious activities 
    • Construction/Renovations 
    • Relocation of business outside of San Jose 
    • Refinancing business debt on credit cards 
    • Pay-off of business taxes and fines 
    • Payment of costs from another business 

What are my chances of being awarded a grant? 

  • We expect a high volume of submissions, funds are limited, and a total of 145 grants will be made, but successful completion of the application and submission of all documents that show you are eligible will put you in the finalist pool of applicants. 

If I am awarded a grant, will I be taxed on the grant amount? 

  • Check with your accountant to determine tax liability. 

Will any of the grant money have to be repaid? 

  • No. Grant awards are not repaid. 

What documents do I need to submit? 

  • For the initial application, you will need: o Your personal SSN or ITIN and your business EIN. 
    • DUNS number. Apply here It’s free but can take up to 2 days to confirm. 
    • A color copy, front & back, of a valid, current government-issued photo ID (Driver’s license or State of California Identification Card) 
    • 2019 Personal Tax Return (with all schedules, W-2s and 1099s, or IRS Statement of Non-Filing) 
    • 2018 Personal Tax Return (with all schedules, W-2s and 1099s, or IRS Statement of Non-Filing) 

Will I be contacted if I am missing information on my application? 

  • No, incomplete applications will be declined. 

Are there other documents I will be required to submit? 

  • Yes. If applicants are eligible and the initial application is complete, applicants will receive an email requesting additional business and household income verification documents. 
  • Business Documents
    • 2019 business tax return (if not yet filed, please include P&L for 2019) 
    • 2018 tax return (if in business during 2018) 
    • Current (2020) business profit & loss statement 
    • Three (3) most recent and consecutive business savings and checking account statements, all pages 
  • Household Income Verification Documents per the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development household income limits. (Check here)
    • Current identification not expired (i.e., driver’s license or State of California identification card) for ALL adult household members or birth certificates for all household members under the age of eighteen (18). If over 18 and a full-time student, a copy of School ID. 
    • Three (3) most recent and consecutive savings and checking account statements for ALL adult household members, all pages 
    • Two (2) most recent federal income tax returns, complete with all schedules (Schedule C, if self-employed), W-2s and 1099s, or IRS Statement of Non-Filing, for ALL adult household members
      • If you did not file Income Tax returns, complete a Certification for Non-Income Tax Filers (No-Income Tax Affidavit Form). We have this form and will make it available to you if needed. 
    • Self-employment income: YTD Profit & Loss Statement 
    • Three (3) most recent & consecutive paycheck stubs for ALL adult household members
    • Paycheck Stubs for all employment income, including on-call or seasonal/temporary/informal work. 
    • Other income documentation:
      • Social Security/SSI (submit copy of most recent award letter or direct deposit bank statement) 
      • Retirement/Pension (submit copy of most recent retirement check/statement) 
      • Disability/SSDI (Statement from Employment Development Department and Letter from Doctor on letterhead showing how long you will be on disability) 
      • Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) 
      • Rental Receipts (submit copies) 
      • Unemployment (Claim Approval Letter) 

Why are there so many documents to submit? 

  • All documents are required by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for Community Development Block Grant grants. CDBG grants have strict reporting requirements which require business owners to provide personal information including name, address, phone number, family size, household income, gender, race, and ethnicity of owners. 
  • HUD and CDBG request a lot of documents to support a business owner’s application for the grant, especially for the total household income of a business owner and family (which must be at or below 80% of area median income). 

What constitutes a Household or how is Household defined? Is it all related and unrelated people in a house? Do unrelated adults need to be included if they do not add to family income? 

  • CDBG defines a household as: “all persons occupying the same housing unit, regardless of their relationship to each other. The occupants could consist of a single family, two or more families living together, or any other group of related or unrelated persons who share living arrangements.
  • A family is defined as “all persons living in the same household who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption.” An individual living in a housing unit that contains no other person(s) related to him/her is considered to be a one-person family for this purpose.
  • Adult children who continue to live at home with their parent(s) are considered to be part of the family for this purpose and their income must be counted in determining the total family income.
  • A dependent child who is living outside of the home (e.g., students living in a dormitory or other student housing) is considered for these purposes to be part of the family upon which he/she is dependent, even though he/she is living in another housing unit.”

What happens after I submit my application? 

  • Applications will be reviewed for initial eligibility starting on August 12th. If you are not eligible, you will receive notification immediately. If your application is declined, you may resubmit. However, once we reach the deadline on August 28, all decline notifications are final.
  • If the application is complete and indicates you are eligible, you will receive an automated email confirming eligibility and requesting that you submit a second round of documents. If you fail to submit, you will not move into the pool of finalists.
  • If applicants submit all required documents, they will enter the pool of eligible finalists.
  • We will randomly select 145 finalists from that pool, with priority given to essential businesses, for the Income Verification stage.
  • If a finalist passes Income Verification with all necessary documents and meets all federal requirements, they are eligible to receive a grant!
  • If any finalists do not pass Income Verification, we will return to the finalist pool and take the next finalist on the previously randomized list. That finalist will move forward to the Income Verification stage. We will continue this process until we reach 145 grantees.

When will I know if I will receive a grant? 

  • Review of applications will run from August 19 – September 30, 2020. Grantees and all remaining applicants will be notified of an approval or decline of an award the first week of October. 

If awarded, what happens next? 

  • If awarded, grantees must
    • Complete a demographic survey
    • Schedule a technical assistance meeting with TrustPlus for one-on-one financial coaching.
    • Enroll in one webinar offered by Accion Opportunity Fund on a relevant business topic.
    • Agree to abide by eligible uses of funds and will be asked to self-attest as to use of funds. You may be asked to provide financial records supporting use of funds.
    • Provide bank account/direct deposit information
    • Agree to respond to a follow-up survey in 3 months regarding technical assistance and use of funds.
  • We will disburse funds directly to your bank account via EFT the first week of October.

What if I have questions? 

  • Please review our website and the FAQs. 
  • Visit the San Jose website sjeconomy and sanjoseca.gov.
  • Email Opportunity Fund at businessgrants@opportunityfund.org. 
  • Due to overwhelming demand, a reply to your request may be delayed. 

Where can I find additional information?