Grant Program Overview
We are pleased to announce that Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro and Summit County Council have approved a third round of funding for the Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program.
The application period for the third round of this critical small business support resource will open on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 12 noon and will close on Wednesday, October 14th at 9:00 a.m. Applications that are not fully completed and submitted via the online application tool by 9:00 a.m. on October 14th will not be accepted.
If you were awarded a grant in a prior round of the program and have not received distribution of funds, it is because we are either waiting on information to be provided by you to complete the required documentation or we are actively working on an issue with your application of which you should be aware. If you have specific questions about prior round awards, please reach out to us at CovidGrant@GreaterAkronChamber.org.
A summary of the grant distribution to date for the three rounds of the program as of November 2, 2020 is included here. These numbers may change slightly as companies that have filed final data verification or have been unresponsive to our requests will have their grant awards withdrawn.
A list of all grant recipients for Round 2 is included here as well.
We appreciate the leadership and support of Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, Summit County Council and Summit County Chief of Staff Brian Nelsen who made this program a possibility by dedicating more than $12 million of CARES Act allocations and County funds to support our county’s small businesses. We also appreciate the municipalities that participated by funding a portion of the program including the cities of Akron, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn, Green, Norton and Tallmadge, Copley Township, Coventry Township, Bath Township, the Village of Mogadore. More than $300K of funding was provided by federal Community Block Grant Funds from Summit County, the City of Barberton, and the City of Cuyahoga Falls. And, we appreciate the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the JumpStart/Key Bank Boost and Build programs for their additional and significant support.
Thank you to all interested parties and for the community support. As we navigate COVID-19, we hope you find value from the rest of the resources on this website. On the Business Resources page, you can find other financial relief opportunities for your business. If you have questions about the Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program, contact COVIDgrant@greaterakronchamber.org.
Grant Program Expense Reporting Info Session
ROUND 3 PROGRAM GUIDELINES AS MODIFIED SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
The Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program (the “Program”) is a grant fund that previously distributed more than $7.8 million and has been funded with an additional amount not to exceed $5 million that the County received through section 5001 of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (that “CARES Act”). The Program has been created by Summit County, with several community partners in order to assist small businesses throughout Summit County with the financial hardship imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help pay the costs of business interruption required by closures or that costs where businesses face uncertainty as to their ability to pay due to the pandemic. The below guidelines establish the businesses eligible for funding, the type of business expenses that can be paid with grant funds, the application and award process, the process for entities to make contributions to the Program and other general operating guidelines that govern the use of funds and program administration.
I. General Description of the Program
Eligible businesses will be able to receive grant funds from the program in order to assist those businesses with operating expenses incurred or paid after March 15, 2020, when the State of Ohio began the process of closing certain businesses within the State, and at which point several businesses were being affected by both mandatory and voluntary closures, cancellations, and postponements of operations, activities, and events, both in and outside of Ohio, and substantial losses in revenue and costs as a result of business interruption and broad economic impact of the pandemic. Generally, the amount of the grant per business will be a maximum of $7,500 for businesses with eleven to thirty employees; $5,000 for businesses with two or more and less than eleven employees; and, a maximum of $2,500 for businesses with less than two employees, provided, however, that any funders to the Program may request that the funds it contributes be used to fund grants in excess of any of these caps. Overall, eligibility for the grants will be tied to key criteria linked to supporting businesses that were viable prior to the pandemic, have been impacted by COVID-19, employ Summit County residents and have the potential to continue to operate following the pandemic.
Applicants must submit an application in the form attached to these guidelines to the Greater Akron Chamber, which will review the same for completeness and compliance with these guidelines. The first round of funding for which applications will be taken will commence at 12pm on Wednesday September 23, 2020 and run until 9am Wednesday, October 14, 2020. All complete applications submitted during that time, that are in compliance with the eligibility criteria set forth below, will be scored based on criteria reviewed by the Grant Underwriting Team. Grants will be awarded to businesses with completed applications generally based on the criteria set forth in Exhibit B, with the intention of awarding grants based on the following: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operation and success of the business, the likelihood of the business’s future success, the number of job opportunities preserved for Summit County businesses, the location of the business and the business’s proximity to Summit County Job Hubs, the contribution of the business to equity and the diversity of small businesses and small business owners in Summit County, and the community’s need to support entrepreneurial and start-up businesses with strong leadership. The Greater Akron Chamber will announce the award of grant funds on Friday, October 30, 2020, and will begin distributing grant funds the following week, unless funding from a funder for that particular grant is received by the Greater Akron Chamber later than that week (the Greater Akron Chamber will advise accordingly).
All grants made under the Program are being made with the intention to provide immediate funding to small businesses to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures, to assist with the payment of costs where the business faces uncertainty as to its ability to pay due to the pandemic, to keep as many small businesses in Summit County as operating, ongoing concerns as possible, and to retain as many jobs for Summit County residents as possible in light of the severe economic hardships brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. All contributions of funds to the Program are made for the purpose of furthering economic development, preserving employment opportunities for Summit County residents, and preserving the operations of Summit County’s small businesses during a time of need and emergency. The primary objective of the Program is to minimize long-term economic hardship to Summit County residents that may result from the COVID-19 pandemic.
II. Eligibility Criteria
- To be eligible for grant funds under the Program, Summit County businesses must meet the following requirements, as of March 15, 2020:
- The business must operate for profit. Non-profit entities of any type are not eligible. (Business that are for-profit generally file an IRS Form 1040 with a Schedule-C, 1040-SR with a Schedule-C, 1065, 1120 or 1120-S).
- The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation (both S and C), professional association, limited liability company, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership. If a corporation, professional association, limited liability company, limited partnership or limited liability partnership, the business must be registered with the Ohio Secretary of State to do business in the State of Ohio. If a sole proprietorship, the business shall provide documentation of its existence as a business. Acceptable documentation could include, but is not limited to: evidence of existence of registration with the Ohio Secretary of State; income tax returns for the business; trade name registrations; business banking or credit accounts; or similar documents. If a partnership, the business shall either be registered with the Ohio Secretary of State to do business in the State of Ohio, or, if not registered, shall provide documentation similar to that required for a sole proprietorship. In the event that documentation is not available as listed above, the Chamber as administrator of the program, may make a determination of legitimacy for the business based on its review and examination of other evidence as it determines is appropriate.
- The principal place of business, or headquarters, for the business must be located within Summit County.
- The business must have been in operation for at least fifteen months prior to March 15, 2020, which, upon request, must be evidenced by a filing on or before that time of documents with the Ohio Secretary of State incorporating or organizing the business. Absent those filings, business bank account documentation, business tax documentation, credit accounts or other documentation acceptable to the Chamber in its sole discretion as evidence of operations will be required. In cases where business transitions, ownership changes or other activities disrupt the abilities to provide specific documentations, the Chamber, as administrator of the program, may make a determination of legitimacy for the business based on its review and examination of other evidence as it determines is appropriate.
- The business must not be permanently closed and must indicate based on answers in its application that it intends to continue its business operations following the COVID-19 pandemic.
- To be eligible for a grant in an amount of up to $7,500, the business must employ a minimum of eleven employees and a maximum of thirty employees. To be eligible for a grant in an amount of up to $5,000, the business must employ a minimum of two employees and less than eleven employees. Businesses that employ less than two employees will be eligible for grants of up to $2,500. For purposes of this criteria, “employee” shall mean an individual who (i) is employed as an employee who regularly works at least 20 hours per week and who is provided an IRS Form W-2 at the end of each calendar year, (ii) is independently contracted with the business, regularly works at least 20 hours per week and who receives an IRS Form 1099 at the end of each calendar year, or (iii) the principal owner(s) of the business, the sole proprietor, or partners, whichever is applicable, provided, however, that the principal owners, sole proprietor or partners need not be included in the number of employees if it would cause the business to exceed thirty individuals employed or result in the ratio of employees that are Summit County residents compared to the total number of employees be less than 50%. Owners that are excluded for either the calculation for number of employees or percentage of employees must be excluded for both calculations.
- At least 50% of all individuals employed by the business, as defined herein, must be permanent residents of the County of Summit.
- The business must not be in receivership or bankruptcy.
- The business must be current on all Summit County municipal and Joint Economic Development District income tax obligations and Summit County property tax obligations as of October 14, 2020. Those on payment plans will be deemed current if plan payments are up to date as of the application deadline of October 14, 2020. All businesses will be required to provide the businesses’ federal employer identification number, or, if the business does not have a federal employer identification number, the social security number under which the business operates.
- The business must disclose any other grant support provided to the business by other COVID19 relief related grant programs including, but not limited to, the Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program, the United Way of Summit County COVID-19 Grant Program, the Downtown Akron Partnership COVID19 grant program, the City of Akron Great Streets program or other CDBG relief programs provided by the City of Barberton, the City of Akron, or Cuyahoga Falls. While support from these programs will not disqualify an applicant, the total amount of prior funding received may not result in an applicant receiving more than $15,000 in total from all of the aforementioned programs and this program as a result of additional grant funding from this program. Failure to disclose the receipt of other grant proceeds will automatically and conclusively render applicants ineligible for this program. Support from the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) or other non-forgivable loan programs will not impact the total amount of grant funding that an applicant can receive.
- The businesses shall not be one of the following, regardless of its general eligibility under subsection (A), above:
- Any business operating as an entertainment device arcade, as defined in Chapter 755 of the Codified Ordinances of the County of Summit, regardless of the location within Summit County.
- Any business operating as a sexually oriented business as that term is defined in Section 2907.40 of the Ohio Revised Code.
- Any business that primarily sells tobacco products, cigarettes, electronic smoking devices, or vapor products as those terms are defined in Section 2927.02 of the Ohio Revised Code.
- Any financial institution that makes loans or issues credit to the public, including, but not limited to, banks, credit unions, payday lenders, or any other similar business.
- Any business that generates revenue that is solely considered as passive activity by the Internal Revenue Service for income purposes and/or that is a sole proprietor without employees that reports business income on a 1040 Schedule C that is less than 25% of the adjusted gross income of the individual filing the 1040 Schedule.
III. Eligible Expenses
- Unless excepted below, all expenses of the business that related to the costs of business interruption caused by required closures or for which the business faces uncertainty as to its ability to pay due to the pandemic and that are deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code may be paid for with grant funds from the Program. Expenses must be incurred between March 15, 2020 and December 15, 2020. Examples of eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Mortgage payments for the business’s principal place of business or such other business location in Summit County. Mortgage payments for businesses that are located in an owner’s primary residence are not eligible.
- Rent payments for the business’s principal place of business or such other business location in Summit County. Rent payments for businesses that are located in an owner’s primary residence are not eligible.
- Utility payments – electric, gas, sewer, water, trash removal – for the business’s principal place of business or such other business location in Summit County. Utility payments for businesses that are located in an owner’s primary residence are not eligible.
- Health, property and casualty and liability insurance payments.
- Vehicle and equipment lease or rental payments for vehicles and equipment leased on or prior to March 15, 2020.
- Salaries or wages of all employees employed by the business.
- Such other costs related to interruption of the business caused by required closures, including the closure of the business's suppliers and/or customers.
- Additionally, any sole proprietor may use grant funds from the Program to replace a portion of its lost revenue, as follows:
- If the sole proprietor filed IRS Form 1040 and Schedule C thereto for tax year 2019, or, if the event the sole proprietor has not filed IRS Form 1040 for tax year 2019, but has filed IRS Form 1040 and Schedule C thereto for tax year 2018, then the sole proprietor can use the grant funds to pay the sole proprietor the equivalent of up to 33% of the net profit reported by the sole proprietor on line 31 of the applicable Schedule C. If the sole proprietor received a prior grant under this program, the total of all grants received shall not exceed 33% of the net profit reported by the sole proprietor on line 31 of the applicable Schedule C.
- Each applicant for funds will include in its application to the Greater Akron Chamber an itemization of the expenses it intends to pay with the grant funds, which will be reviewed for compliance with the eligible expenses set forth in Section III(A), above. Following the expenditure of all grant funds, the business shall provide a listing to the Greater Akron Chamber of all business expenses paid using the grant funds along with supporting documentation. Documentation will be in the form of cancelled checks, paid invoices, bank statements, or similar documents evidencing payment. The listing of business expenses paid and accompanying documentation shall be submitted to the Greater Akron Chamber no later than 90 days following the receipt of grant funds by the business.
- The Grant Expense Report can be found here.
- All expenses reported to the Greater Akron Chamber as paid or reimbursed using Program funds must either be incurred by the business or paid by the business on or after March 15, 2020, and before December 15, 2020. No grant funds may be used to pay for vehicles or equipment leased or purchased after March 15, 2020 (this prohibition is not intended to apply to inventory of the business).
- The eligible expenses set forth above constitute, to the best of the County of Summit and Chamber’s knowledge and understanding, eligible expenses for which funds can be used under Section 5001 of the CARES Act, and the business cannot use grant funds it receives for purposes other than those set forth above.
IV. Application and Award Process
- Businesses that wish to apply for a grant from the Program shall submit to the Greater Akron Chamber the following documents in electronic format a complete application on the form prescribed by the Greater Akron Chamber. That application will include basic information regarding the business, as well as the following information:
- If the business applied for a Paycheck Protection Program Loan or Economic Injury Disaster Loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration, the loan application number(s) for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and/or the Paycheck Protection Program Loan. Application for these programs is not a requirement and will be used for statistical purposes only.
- Summary level information on 2019 revenues and expenses, an estimate of 2020 YTD revenues and expenses through September 30, 2020 and an estimate of COVID-19 impact on revenue and expenses through September 30, 2020.
- An indication of business expenses that the business will pay with grant funds awarded from the Program.
- For all businesses applying, the first page of its IRS Form 1040, 1040-SR, 1065, 1120 or 1120-S for tax year 2019, or, if the business has not filed IRS Form 1040, 1040-SR, 1065, 1120 or 1120-S for tax year 2019, but has filed one of said forms for tax year 2018, then the first page of the same. Additionally, any business providing a Form 1040 or 1040-SR must also include the full Schedule C that was filed with the Form 1040 or 1040-SR.
- A completed form W-9 for the business or recipient of grant funds to enable IRS reporting and verification.
- Applications will be taken beginning at 12 pm on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 and remain open until 9 am Wednesday, October 14, 2020. All applications must be fully submitted and completed during this time to be considered. Applications will be received electronically via the online survey application tool. In the event that an applicant is absolutely unable to submit via the online tool, we will do our best to accommodate arrangements for application via paper. Submissions via fax will be time stamped for receipt. Applications may also be received by U.S. Mail and will be time stamped upon receipt for 5 p.m. on the date of the postmark of the application. To facilitate review, no applications will be accepted by U.S. Mail if received after 5 p.m. on the final date of the application period. Due to COVID-19 operating restrictions, no applications will be accepted in person at the Greater Akron Chamber or any other office unless a specific appointment time for receipt can be made.
- Complete submission of accurate information is the responsibility of the applicant. Given the volume of applications expected, The Greater Akron Chamber is unable to contact individual recipients related to incomplete information. The application process includes multiple opportunities for the applicant to review their submission and a final confirmation and copy of the applicant’s submission will be sent from the application system to the applicant’s email. Applicants should retain a copy of that email for their records. Incomplete applications will result in elimination of the company’s application for the grant. Information submitted will be deemed as certified to be accurate and truthful by the applicant and will be relied on for determining eligibility and applicant scoring. False information provided by applicants could result in the requirement to repay grant funds as a result of submitting a false or misleading application.
- All applications that are complete and contain all information required by Section IV(A), above, will receive a sequential grant application number indicating the order that the complete application was received. This number will factor into the review as a way of prioritizing distribution of funds in the event scoring of the application results in equal scores to other applications.
- All complete applications that receive a grant application number will be considered for funding by the Grant Underwriting Team. Grant awards will be made based on competitive application scoring and the availability of funds. It is not likely the Program will be able to provide funds for every eligible applicant.
- The Grant Underwriting Team, the membership of which is attached hereto as Exhibit A, will be responsible for oversight of the scoring methodology, advising grant program staff on the review process and providing general advice and support for the approach to applicant evaluation and the awards process. The Grant Underwriting Team shall review and approve the final set of awards based on review of the scoring process and the final summary of applicant and awardee information.
- Upon approval by the Grant Underwriting Team, businesses with eleven or more employees and up to thirty employee will be awarded a grant of up to $7,500; those with two to eleven employees will be awarded a grant of up to $5,000; and, businesses with less than two employees will be awarded a grant of up to $2,500 (unless they qualify for a higher grant award as provided by a specific grantor’s direction). Grants will be funded only to the extent that grant funds are available. Grant awards will be announced by the Greater Akron Chamber on Friday, October 30, 2020. Following award of each grant, the Greater Akron Chamber will email to each business a grant agreement. The business must complete and sign the grant agreement and return the same to the Greater Akron Chamber to receive grant funds. Grant funds will be distributed as soon as possible following the receipt of a signed grant agreement and any required verification of documentation and other requirements, unless funding from a funder for that particular grant is received by the Greater Akron Chamber later than that week.
- If, after review of all applications and award of grant funds for all applications received , there are still funds remaining to be granted and/or subsequent funds are received by the Greater Akron Chamber for the purpose of making grants hereunder, subsequent rounds of funding, that will function in a similar manner , may be announced and conducted. Any application that is complete and meets all eligibility but was not funded in a certain round will be reconsidered for funding in the next subsequent funding round.
- The Greater Akron Chamber may require any business owner to complete any necessary documentation to determine if the grant to that business may be funded.
- Prior to receiving any grant funds, the business shall sign a grant agreement between itself and the Greater Akron Chamber. At a minimum, the grant agreement will (i) require the business to use all grant funds for the purposes set forth in these Guidelines and its application, (ii) require the business to follow and comply with all other provisions of these Guidelines, (iii) be conditioned on the business providing all information on the application, accompanying documents and verification of expenses in a true and accurate manner, (iv) require the business to be subject to audit and reimbursement of funds in the event it fails to comply with items (i) to (iii), and (v) require the business to indemnify and hold harmless the Greater Akron Chamber and all contributors of grant funds.
- To the extent allowable due to the availability of funds, all businesses will be funded to the maximum for their employee size as noted above (unless they qualify for a higher grant award as provided by a specific grantor’s direction) provided they are complete, meet all other criteria, and are approved by the Grant Underwriting Team. Businesses requesting less than the maximum funding for their size will be funded in the amount requested in the application, again, provided they are complete, meet all other criteria, and are approved by the Grant Underwriting Team. The Greater Akron Chamber and the Grant Underwriting Team will not make determinations that grants be funded for an amount different than the amount requested, unless necessary to cap the grant at a maximum amount.
- In general, the Greater Akron Chamber will manage the Program and administer the distribution of grants in accordance with these Guidelines.
- Nothing contained herein is intended to obligate or bind, nor shall it be construed to obligate or bind, the Greater Akron Chamber or any grantor of funds to the Program, to make, award, or fund any grant to any entity whatsoever, and no entity shall have any claim, action, or cause of action against the Greater Akron Chamber or any grantor of funds for failure to make, award, or fund any grant. All determinations will be made with the best efforts of the Grant Underwriting Team and in the spirit of meeting the objectives of this program. The decisions of the Grant Underwriting Team are final, not subject to appeal and fully within the discretion of the Grant Underwriting Team subject to whatever process modifications they find necessary in the dispatch of their work to meet the guidelines of the program. A statement to this effect shall be included in the application.
The Round 3 Application is Now Closed
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This project funded in part with Community Development Block Grants from the County of Summit, City of Barberton, and City of Cuyahoga Falls.