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The City of Novato is proud to announce the launch of the Novato Small Business Relief Fund to help retain local jobs, keep storefronts tenanted, and support the local economy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shelter in place orders.
On April 28, 2020, the Novato City Council approved the establishment of the Novato Small Business Relief Fund, as well as a $50,000 contribution from the City. This relief fund was designed in collaboration with our local partners, Novato Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Novato Business Association, County of Marin, MarinLink and Bank of Marin, to help small business owners impacted by COVID-19 stay afloat during this unprecedented time.
Qualified small businesses can apply for one-time grants in amounts up to $5,000 to utilize for business costs including rent or mortgage, payroll, utilities, insurance, loan payments related to running the business and any other documented cost of business operations. Total grant funding dispersed will be dependent upon on how much money is raised.
The application period closed on May 10, 2020 at 5pm. If additional funds are raised, a potential second round will open on June 1, 2020. Before filling out the application, please be sure to review the eligibility requirements below.
Support the Novato Small Business Relief Fund
Community members looking for ways to support our small business community during this time can donate directly to the Novato Small Business Relief Fund through MarinLink, our fiscal custodian and nonprofit partner.
To make a donation online by credit card, please click the Donate button below to be directed to the MarinLink website. Please be sure to type "Novato Small Business" in the "Active Project Donation" field.
To make a donation by check, please make checks out to "Novato Small Business Relief" and mail to:
5800 Northgate Mall, Suite 250
San Rafael, CA 94903
To be eligible to apply, businesses must:
- Operate a for-profit or non-profit business with a physical storefront as the business owners/license holder within the City of Novato and hold a current, appropriate City of Novato business license;
- Have more than 1 but fewer than 26 employees;
- Must operate out of a physical, commercial storefront within City limits;
- Demonstrate a loss of gross revenues of at least 50% in April 2020 vs. April 2019 as a result of COVID-19;
- Demonstrate that immediate assistance is inadequate, unavailable or unlikely from other sources;
- Have less than $1,000,000 in gross revenues in the prior fiscal year from operations within the City of Novato;
- Be open for business, or intend to re-open upon lifting of the shelter-in-place order; and
- Have been in operation for at least one year as of March 31, 2020
The following businesses are not eligible to apply:
- Businesses with no employees and those with over 25 employees as of March 1, 2020
- Home-based businesses
- Lending and investment institutions and insurance companies
- Gambling facilities
- Businesses with no physical storefront
- Non-profit entities with no physical storefront
- Businesses operating outside City limits
- Franchise businesses that are not independently owned and operated within the City
- Businesses without a valid City of Novato business license
- Businesses engaged in any illegal activity per local, state or federal regulations
- Subcontractors under a primary business license, such as in a salon
Some business owners who are or have been involved in legal or financial issues may not qualify. These include but are not limited to:
- Bankruptcy, insolvency proceedings
- Outstanding judgements, tax liens, pending lawsuits
- Conviction of a criminal offense committed during and in connection with a declared disaster
- Delinquency of federal tax payment or a federally regulated loan
- Suspension or debarment from contracting with the federal government or receiving federal funds
Frequently Asked Questions
The grant application period is open from May 1, 2020 at 9am through May 10, 2020 at 5pm.
In addition to the application form, the following supporting documents will be needed:
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-9;
- Payroll report (sufficient to document the eligibility);
- Income statements for Q1 2019 (January 1, 2019 through March 31, 2019), and Q1 2020 (January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020);
- Documents showing a 50% loss in revenue in April 2020 vs. April 2019; and
- 2019 financial statements sufficient to demonstrate eligibility criteria
These documents are for grant selection purposes only and will not be shared beyond the SBRF Committee.
The initial grant application period will begin May 1, 2020 and will close on May 10, 2020. City staff will evaluate applications to determine if they meet eligibility requirements.
A Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF) Committee will select grantees in accordance with program guidelines, and funding will be allocated prior to June 30, 2020.
Grants will be dispersed in amounts of up to $5,000 per award. Total grant funding dispersed will be dependent upon on how much money is raised.
Every $1 spent locally means $3 dollars back to our community. The impact of keeping businesses afloat during this time, and the impact of keeping spaces tenanted, cannot be overstated. We recognize that even if we meet our fundraising goal, this is just the beginning of what will be needed to address this local emergency and the detrimental effect it is having on the local economy.
Applications demonstrating the greatest need, specifically:
- An inability to generate revenue during the Shelter In Place order
- Businesses which rent or lease their locations and are more vulnerable to eviction and/or businesses whose landlords are not allowing rental flexibility
- Ability to reopen following lifting of Shelter In Place order
The program has an initial goal of $400,000. Fundraising will continue into multiple rounds if necessary.
Donations to the Novato Small Business Relief Fund can be submitted to MarinLink, our fiscal agent, once the partnership is finalized. Check back soon for more info and to contribute to the fund.
The Novato Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Novato Business Association have graciously offered to help interested applicants complete their applications. Please feel free to reach out to them directly:
Novato Chamber of Commerce
Downtown Novato Business Association