How to apply for your share of $500 million California small business relief grants


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Starting Wednesday, California’s small business owners can start to apply for their share of $500 million in grants as part of a state relief program. 

California has more than four million small businesses.

Many of them have been finding ways to try and stay afloat during the pandemic. 

One Oakland business owner says while every bit of help is needed, it’s still not enough to help offset the thousands in losses from being closed. 

A small lifeline is on the way to the more than four million California small businesses, who have been trying to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting Wednesday, businesses can begin to apply for a share of $500 million in funds, as part of the California Relief Grant Program.

Businesses won’t be on the hook for re-paying back the money. 

“We have all the info that they need. I think definitely tomorrow we’re going to go for it,” Nelson German said.

Chef Nelson German says he plans to apply.

“At this point, why not? If we get something, it will help a little bit. It won’t go too long of away, but it’s still something,” German said. 

German owns Alamar Kitchen and the Sobre Mesa Restaurants in Oakland. 

Like many restaurant owners, he says he’s had to rely heavily on take-out orders during the latest shelter-in-place, in order to keep the lights on. 

German says one of his locations has lost nearly $80,000 during the pandemic.  

He says any money while appreciated, will be just a small drop in the bucket. 

“It’s just going to be incremental, just a few cents to help out like a few bill Like a few bills to help out,” German said.

Under the program, businesses can receive anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000.

Small businesses and non-profits are eligible if their businesses bring in less than $2.5 million in revenues, have been opened since June 2019, and have a clear re-opening plan when the pandemic ends.

The money can be used for employee expenses, including payroll healthcare.

Paying off any debt, including rent payments, and utilities, and upgrading facilities with personal protective equipment. 

“For us, we’re not giving up. We’re going to keep fighting,” German said.

German says he understands the current situation facing us but wishes leaders could do more, to help out owners like him, who are also at risk of feeling the impacts of the virus. 

“We know what’s going on. ICU hospitalizations are filling up and the virus is still going strong, unfortunately, but our businesses are our livelihood, and we need to have help and it’s really frustrating,” German said.

Businesses can begin applying at this link on Wednesday at 6 a.m.

The deadline for applications is on January 8 at 11:59. 

Businesses will start to learn if they’ve been approved on January 13 and can receive as much as $25,000.

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