Small business assistance
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Backing Small Businesses

  • Open date

  • Application Deadline

About This Grant

In partnership with American Express, the Backing Small Businesses grant program supports economically vulnerable and under-resourced small businesses with community reach. This year, eligible small business owners can apply for $10,000 grants for projects that grow or improve their businesses by building community, supporting their economic viability, or bolstering meaningful change.

The application period will end once 5,000 applications have been submitted, even if that occurs before the deadline.

How You Can Use the Funds

  • Accessibility Upgrades (Examples: ramp, menu translation, accessible website redesign for visually impaired people, etc.)
  • Community Events and Programs (Examples: open mic night, public educational/training workshops, hosting community fund raisers, partnerships with other small businesses)
  • Equipment and Inventory (Examples: point of sale device/software, purchasing of items for sale, display cases, kitchen equipment)
  • Marketing (Examples: investing in social media campaign, building a website, etc.)
  • Operational Strategy (Examples: branding package, accounting software, business coaching, and other types of support that would increase the viability of your business)
  • Physical Improvements (Examples: signage, awnings, painting facade, new shelving, new lighting, etc.)
  • Sustainability Upgrades (Examples: solar panels, rain garden adjacent to business, investing in reusable/compostable/recyclable packaging alternatives, etc.)
  • Technology Upgrades (Examples: building an online storefront, online ordering system, or other e-commerce platform)
  • Utilities (Note: Must not be more than $2000 or 20% of the requested funds) Note that payroll expenses are not eligible.

Documents Required

  • Fill out application online

Eligibility Requirements

  • The applicant must be an owner of the business.
  • The applicant must be at least age 18 years or older.
  • The business must be in a "bricks-and-mortar" location and operate in an older or historic main street, downtown, or commercial district in the United States. The business must have occupied their current bricks-and-mortar location since January 1, 2024. (Home-based businesses, even those located in historic neighborhoods, are not eligible. Brick and mortar businesses located outside of historic downtowns and commercial corridors, including, but not limited to, office parks and shopping malls are also not eligible.)
  • The business must be an independent business and not part of a franchise.
  • The business must employ 20 or less full time employees.
  • The business must have been in operation on or before January 1, 2023.
  • The business must be a business entity in good standing in the state in which it was formed and the state in which it does business.
  • The business must have an active business license, if required by state or local government. (Applicants may be asked to provide documentation if selected.)