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Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program 

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Program Description

The City of Vista has allocated $2.7M to fund a Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program (Grant Program) which will be administered by the Vista Chamber.

The Grant Program is created to provide flexible grant assistance to small Vista businesses who have experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funds will be awarded to for profit businesses who qualify for funding based on select criteria and can demonstrate financial loss through a Profit and Loss Statement or can document how their proposed prospective activities will assist them in recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Applicants must meet one of the qualifications in the three tiers below in order to be considered for emergency grant funds.

Tier 1

  • Independently owned businesses located in Vista that opened prior to March 15, 2020.
  • Have been mandated by government action or decree to close or significantly alter their business activity due to COVID-19.
  • Business license documentation is required.

Tier 2

  • Independently owned businesses located in Vista that opened after March 15, 2020. (If your business did not open until 2020 or later, you may be eligible for funds. We are working to finalize the requirements for businesses opened in 2020 or 2021. Please email businessgrants@vistachamber.org  to receive updates as they are available.)
  • Have been mandated by government action or decree to close or significantly alter their business activity due to COVID - 19.
  • Business license documentation is required.

OR

  • Independently owned businesses located in Vista
  • Demonstrate that their businesses have been significantly affected by government action or decree but have not been ordered to alter business practices other than requirements related to reducing occupancy and observing social distancing.
  • Business license documentation is required.

OR

  • Independently owned businesses located in Vista
  • Demonstrate that their businesses have been significantly affected by government action or decree and can demonstrate that the use of the funds will assist them with recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Business license documentation is required.

Tier 3

  • Businesses that are located in Vista
  • Home-based or are part of a national and/or regional franchise with local ownership and have been mandated by government action or decree to close or significantly alter their business activity due to COVlD-19.
  • Business license documentation is required.

Grant Eligibility
Independently owned, for-profit businesses located in Vista that have been mandated by government action or decree to close or significantly alter their business activity due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply for and receive grant funds. Businesses that received a grant through any previous COVID-19 grant program can apply to receive additional funds; however, businesses that have not received previous grant funds will have priority. No business with more than 100 full-time equivalent employees is eligible for this program and those with 20 or fewer employees will have preference. Businesses must be open to the general public of all ages without restrictions.

Businesses are required to indicate if they previously received a grant for losses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from whom the grant was awarded, the amount of the award, and how much of the business’s losses were covered by the grant. Businesses are required to state their number of full-time equivalent employees.

Bonus points will be awarded for businesses belonging to underserved small business groups. "Underserved small business groups” includes women, minorities (people of color), or veteran-owned businesses where the majority (at least 51 percent) of the business is owned and run on
a daily basis by said group(s).

Award Determination Scoring Matrix

Tier 1 - 10 points
Tier 2 - 6 points
Tier 3 - 3 points
50%+ revenue decline - 15 points
41-50% revenue decline - 10 points
31-40% revenue decline - 8 points
21-30% revenue decline - 5 points
11-20% revenue decline - 3 points
1-10% revenue decline - 1 point
Meets diversity criteria - 2 points

Grant Amounts Based on Points Awarded

3-5 Points - $ 5,000
6-10 Points - $10,000
11-15 Points - $15,000
16-20 Points - $20,000
21-25 Points - $25,000

Grant Amounts
Grant amounts will be determined based on the scoring matrix above, on a first come, first served basis; however, businesses that did not receive previous grant funds will have priority. Grant amounts will be for no more than the actual loss incurred and for no less than $1,000.

Grants ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 will be factored using the grant application, applicants’ proposed use of grant funds, business tiers, and financial impact reports.

Application Process
Businesses interested in applying for a Small Business COVID-19 grant must apply through the Vista Chamber of Commerce.

Items to gather before begining your application:

- Locate your DUNS number. A DUNS number is a unique nine-character number used to identify your organization. The federal government uses the DUNS number to track how federal money is allocated. Apply for a DUNS online: https://www.dnb.com/duns-number.html

- Current City of Vista Business License

- Copies of any business-related licenses or permits needed to legally conduct business.

- Current W-9 Form: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf

- Profit & Loss Statement for calendar year 2020 and for calendar 2019 for comparison purposes. (If your business did not open until 2020 or later, you may be eligible for funds. We are working to finalize the requirements for businesses opened in 2020 or 2021. Please email businessgrants@vistachamber.org  to receive updates as they are available.)

- Prepared recovery plan, including plan for use of grant funds. This can be in letter format.

- Documentation from landlord stating applicant is current with rent payments, if applicable. Include landlord contact information.

 

Application Period
The grant application period will open November 15, 2021, and it will remain open until all grant funds are expended or 18 months, whichever is sooner.

Documentation Required from Applicants
Profit and Loss Statements for periods of the COVID-19 financial loss (typically calendar year 2020) are required to be provided by applicants. Businesses must have the ability to demonstrate financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a viable recovery plan that details how grant funds will be used to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants should be prepared to provide additional documentation if requested and may be interviewed, if necessary, by City Staff or the City’s auditors.

Affirmative Declarations Required from Applicants
Businesses are required to complete an affirmative declarations of the following information as
part of the application process:

  • A business address within Vista city limits.
  • A valid and current City of Vista business license and the date on which the business first started operating.
  • Documentation that the business is current on any other governmental permits, certifications, and payments that the business is required to have, and that proper payments have been made.
  • Documentation that the business, if it does not own the building in or land on which it is located, was not in arrears on rent prior to March 2020. This can be in letter format. Also provide the landlord’s contact information. If the business is late on rent, the business must use 50 percent of the grant funds received for past-due rent. The Chamber will confirm with the landlord that the tenant is in good standing and has all the rights of a tenant in good standing, so as to continue as a tenant in the space in which they are located. A potential move must be disclosed and discussed prior to approval of any grant approval.
  • Grantees and their immediate family may not hold a position as an employee of the City of Vista, Discover Vista, or the Vista Chamber of Commerce.
  • Businesses must be open to the general public of all ages without restrictions.
  • Which group, if any, of the “ underserved small business groups” within the diversity criteria of the grant are represented by the applicant.

Transparency

To maintain transparency for this program, business names, grant amounts, and grant terms will be public information. Also, applicants may be randomly selected for audit by the City or its agents.