Olmsted County Small Business Relief Grant FAQs

 

Olmsted County Small Business Relief Grant FAQs


Here are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Olmsted County Small Business Relief Grants program. New information will be added as it becomes available. Please check back frequently. We list an email at the end if your question is not addressed here, but due to the large volume of interest in this program, we may not be able to respond to every inquiry promptly. These FAQs were last updated on 8/17/20.

 

When and how do I apply?

Applications close at 11:59 PM on Sunday, August 30th, 2020 and you can apply here.

Can I send in a paper or email application?

No. Due to the large volume of applications, we can only accept applications submitted through the online form.

I clicked “Submit” on my application and the screen message said, “Thank you for applying for an Olmsted County Small Business Relief Grant!” Did you receive my application? Can I get an email confirmation?

Yes, we received your application. When you fill out the application and click submit, you will receive a default notification from the software we are using to collect application information that says, “Thank you for applying for an Olmsted County Small Business Relief Grant!” This means we’ve received your application. Unfortunately, we’re not able to provide an email confirmation or reference number.

I started my application but didn’t complete it and left the website before clicking submit. Can I go back and start where I left off?

Yes, you should be able to continue your application from where you left off, as long as you’re using the same computer and browser. If it didn’t save, you are welcome to start again, complete a new application, and submit it.

I completed the application and submitted it, but I either made a mistake or I need to update it. Can I go back and change my information?

Yes, you should be able to go back and change your application. If you are unable to, you can submit another application and your previous application will be disregarded; the last application you submit will be the one considered for award consideration.

I think I uploaded the wrong document. Is there any way to double check it?

If you’re not sure if you uploaded the correct document, you can go back to your application and remove the previously uploaded document and upload a new one, but there’s no way to check to see if it’s the correct one (aside from double checking the file name in the application). Due to the high number of applications, we cannot check it on our end for you.

I accidentally submitted more than one application. Will I be disqualified?

No. However we can only accept the last application you submitted. Any applications you submitted prior to the last one you submitted will be disregarded. Please do your best to avoid submitting more than one application.

Does it matter when I submit my application?

The sooner the better. As long as you submit your application before the deadline (11:59 PM, Sunday August 30th, 2020), it should not affect your chances of receiving an award. While we do not expect to have ties for award funds, we may need to resort to first-come-first-served as a tie breaker. Therefore, it is advisable not to wait until the last minute to apply.

I need help filling out my application. Where can I get help?

The Small Business Development Center is available to provide professional expertise and guidance. Learn more here, or you can sign up directly here: https://mnsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/signup They will provide application assistance free of charge. You may use any other assistance provider you wish, but no assistance provider, whether free or fee-based, can guarantee you will receive a grant.

I am uploading files to the application. Do I need to do anything special to them?

Only PDF, DOC, DOCX, PNG, JPG, JPEG, GIF files are supported in this application. If you try to submit a file in another format, the file may be rejected. Make sure to include your company name in the name of the file, e.g. SamsBakery-ScheduleC.pdf. If you do not include the company name in the file name, your application may be disqualified.

Who is selecting the winners? How will selections be made?

Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) will oversee the Olmsted County Small Business Relief Grants Program, approved by the Olmsted County Board on August 4, 2020. The scoring formula will be prioritizing the applications and guiding the selection process.

Businesses that are majority-owned by military veterans, women, and ethnic or racial minorities; employ 6 people or fewer; have not received other COVID-related government aid; and/or were significantly impacted by Executive Orders (i.e. with their operations restricted to 50% or less of normal capacity) will receive priority considerations in the selection process.

Are nonprofit organizations eligible for this program?

No. Only private for-profit businesses are eligible for this program. Rochester Area Foundation is administering a non-profit program for Olmsted County.

Are cooperatives eligible for this program?

If cooperatives are structured to generate and distribute profits for the benefit of members or owners, they are eligible for this program.

Can ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) businesses apply?

If the ESOPs are structured to generate and distribute profits for the benefit of employees, they are eligible for this program.

My business leases space within the permanent physical location of another business (for example, a chair in a barbershop or a store within a mall, etc.). Is this considered a permanent physical location?

Yes.

I am a resident of another state, but my business has a permanent physical location in Minnesota. Is my business eligible for this program?

No. The majority ownership of a business must be owned by one or more permanent residents of Minnesota.

What is the definition of "permanent resident of Minnesota"?

For the purposes of this program, "permanent resident of Minnesota" means "resident" as defined by Minnesota Statutes (Minn. Stat. 290.01). The term “resident” means any individual who is domiciled in Minnesota or is domiciled outside the state who maintains a place of abode in the state and spends, in the aggregate, more than one-half of the tax year in Minnesota, unless the individual or the spouse of the individual is in the armed forces of the United States.

The term “abode” means a dwelling maintained by an individual, whether or not owned by the individual and whether or not occupied by the individual, and includes a dwelling place owned or leased by the individual’s spouse.

If I am selected to receive a grant, what information will I be asked to show to verify I am a permanent resident of Minnesota?

You may be asked by RAEDI to show proof of residency in the form of a utility bill, tax form, driver’s license or some other acceptable form of information as determined by the grant administrator. You do not need to provide these documents with your application.

I am a permanent resident of Olmsted County, but my business has a permanent physical location outside of Olmsted County. Is my business eligible for this program?

No. Businesses are required to have physical presence in Olmsted County.

I am a permanent resident of Minnesota and I own more than one business located in Olmsted County. Can I submit separate applications for each business, and can my businesses be eligible for separate awards?

An individual business owner should only submit one application and cannot receive more than one grant regardless of how many separate businesses they own or how many business locations are a part of their business(es).

How do I know if I am in good standing? What does "in good standing" mean?

"In good standing" means that your business is current and active with any required business registrations with the Office of the Secretary of State as of March 1, 2020 and that no Minnesota tax liens have been filed against your business with the Minnesota Secretary of State.

You can look up your registration. Please have your file number available when filling out the grant application.

Note that, depending on your business structure, you may not be required to be registered with the Secretary of State. In that case, you will be deemed “in good standing” with the Minnesota Secretary of State. For example, if you are a sole proprietorship operating under your own name, you do not have to be registered with the state.

What if my business was not in good standing on March 1, but since then, my business no longer has any Minnesota tax liens and/or I renewed my required business registration with Secretary of State? Is my business eligible for this program?

No. Per the application, your business has to be "in good standing" on March 1 to be eligible to receive a grant from this program.

Do I need to show that my business is “in good standing” when I apply for a grant?

For the purposes of the grant application, you only need to attest you do not have a Minnesota tax lien filed against your business and that, if required, your business registration with the Minnesota Secretary of State is current as of March 1, 2020. If you are selected for an award, you may be required to provide additional information verifying the tax status of your business.

I don’t know if I have a tax lien against my business. How do I find out?

You can visit the Office of the Secretary of State website to look for tax lien filings.

My business is a home-based childcare provider. Do I need to be registered with the Secretary of State to be eligible for this program?

Not necessarily. If your business operates under your own name and not an assumed named or an LLC, S corporation, or other business formation, you do not need to be registered with the Secretary of State. If you are not required to be registered, you will be considered "in good standing" with the Secretary of State for the purposes of this program.

Are municipal liquor stores eligible for this program?

No. This program is limited to private for-profit businesses.

How is financial hardship defined? What level of financial hardship must my business demonstrate to qualify for this program?

Financial hardship is defined as your business experienced 30% net profit loss year-over-year between March 1 and June 30, 2019 vs. 2020, or if your business started since then, a 30% decrease in net profit for a comparable period. Meeting one of these conditions is sufficient to meet the criteria of experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

I started my business after June 30th, 2019. I am unable to compare revenues between March 1 and June 30th of last year and this year. Am I eligible for this program?

If your business was started after June 30th, 2019 but was in operation on March 1st, 2020, you are eligible for this program.

I filed for an extension for my 2019 taxes. How do I apply?

If you applied for an extension for your 2019 taxes, submit you application for extension in place of your Schedule C or eqivalent document. Submit the rest of the documents as requested in the application.

How is net profit defined? My business often doesn’t get paid for work until 2-3 months after we complete it.

Net profit equals total income minus total expenses. For the purposes of this program, we can accept either accrual or cash basis accounting when calculating revenues over the relevant time period. Whatever method is used, it should be consistent between the two years being compared.

I received forgivable loans, grants, and/or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) between March 1st and June 30th, 2020. Do I count these as revenue for this program? What if these funds were sufficient to make up for any revenue losses I experienced during this time period?

For the purposes of this application, no, you should NOT count the proceeds of forgivable loans, PUA benefits, or grants as revenue. You will be asked to note these elsewhere in the application. If this revenue was sufficient that your business did not experience at least a 30% revenue loss year-over-year between March 1st and June 30th, 2019 vs. 2020, then your business should not apply to this program.

I am self-employed. I received – or am receiving – unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Am I ineligible for this program?

Not necessarily. However, your business must meet all other eligibility requirements, including demonstrating financial hardship, in order to be eligible. PUA benefits are not considered as part of this application.

Can my business receive more than one grant?

No. You can only receive one grant per business.

I own or I am part-owner of multiple businesses that could be eligible for an award. Can each of those business apply to receive a grant?

No. If you own more than a 20% stake in more than one business, only one of the businesses you own can apply and be eligible to receive an award.

I own a business with multiple locations. Can each of the locations be eligible to apply and receive a grant?

No.

Does my home-based business qualify as "permanent physical location?"

Yes. Home-based businesses are considered eligible for the Olmsted County Small Business Relief Grants Program, as long as they meet other eligibility criteria.

What is the definition of a home-based business?

According to IRS Publication 587 a home-based business is one that uses the owner’s home (or space within the home) as its principal place of business. That is:

  1. It is used regularly and exclusively for administration or management of a trade or business, and
  2. The owner has no other fixed location where the business carries on a substantial amount of administration or management.

I am self-employed and/or an independent contractor. Am I eligible for this program?

Yes, as long as your business has a permanent physical location, including home-based businesses, and you meet all other eligibility criteria. Otherwise you are not eligible.

Besides myself, my business does not have any employees. Am I eligible for this program?

Yes.

My business has zero employees and/or hires independent contractors for some of its functions. Am I eligible for this program?

Yes.

My business employs more than 50 employees but they all are employed part-time. Am I disqualified from this program?

Not necessarily. This program is limited to businesses with 50 or less full-time equivalent employees (FTE). Please consult with a tax or accounting professional on how to calculate the number of full-time equivalent employees your business employs. An FTE is generally considered to be 40 hours per week or 2080 hours per year.

My business only employs part-time employees. Am I disqualified from this program?

No.

I am self-employed or an independent contractor, but my work is performed at the permanent physical location of another business. Am I eligible for this program?

Yes, as long as your business is considered a home-based business and meets all other eligibility requirements.

What is the definition of "physical presence"?

Only businesses with a physical presence in Olmsted County are eligible for this program. For the purposes of this program, physical presence means a non-mobile permanent facility such as an office, warehouse, storefront or other facility where the business carries on a substantial amount of administration or management of their business.

Businesses that operate primarily through a mobile operation, such as a mobile food stand, food truck, etc., shall be considered as having a physical presence if they operate more than 50% of the time in Olmsted County, and derive more than 50% of their total income in Olmsted County.

Facilities that are in the home, in a space within the home, or in a structure on the same property as the home of the business owner are considered a home-based business, and qualify has having a physical presence.

My business is a for-profit farming operation. Am I eligible for this program?

Yes. If you are selected to receive an award, you may be asked for information that verifies your farm is operated for profit and is not a so-called “hobby farm.”

My business is a minority business enterprise and my business is also owned by a woman. How does my business falling under multiple categories for prioritization affect my odds of getting a grant?

If your business falls under multiple categories, your business will be awarded additional points for each category in which it qualifies.

Do I have to show a certification that my business is a minority business enterprise, or a veteran or women owned business to apply for this program?

No. If you disclose that your business may qualify under those categories, you may be required to provide additional information confirming the status of your business before receiving an award. Any official certification you received can be used as documentation, but it is not required to have this certification.

I do not want to disclose my status as a minority-, veteran-, or woman-owned business. Am I required to?

No. However, if you are a minority-, veteran-, or woman-owned business, and you want your business to be considered for the priority status those businesses are eligible for, you will need to indicate that on your application.

Is preference going to licensed businesses?

No.

What is the definition of a Veteran being used to be eligible for the veteran-owned business grant?

Veterans must meet the definition of a veteran as stated in Minnesota Statute 197.447 that states a Veteran is:

  • A citizen of the United States or a resident alien
  • Separated under honorable conditions from any branch of the armed forces of the United States
  • Served on active duty for 181 consecutive days or by reason of disability incurred while serving on active duty, OR:
    • Met the minimum active duty requirement as defined by Code of Federal Regulations, title 38, section 3.12a, OR
    • Has active military service certified under section 401, Public Law 95-202 certified by the United States secretary of defense as active military service and a discharge under honorable conditions must be issued by the secretary.

For more information, visit the MDVA website.

My business was restricted from operating at full capacity by executive order. How does this impact my chance of getting a grant?

If your business was restricted by executive orders, you will qualify for a priority designation for an award. Business that qualify for that designation will be awarded additional points, assuming they meet all the other eligibility requirements.

This includes the following categories of businesses:

  • Retail
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Personal services (salons, tattoos, barbershops)
  • Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, martial arts
  • Indoor events and entertainment
  • Outdoor events and entertainment (not including drive-in facilities)
  • Organized sports (adult and youth)
  • Places of worship, religious services, weddings, and funerals
  • Campgrounds and charter boats
  • Pools

Please refer to staysafe.mn.gov for a helpful guide to businesses impacted by Executive Orders (see Stay Safe Grid).

When will I know if I have been selected for a grant?

We expect to notify grant winners by mid-September. You will receive an email from RAEDI notifying you of the award.

If I win a grant, how will I get grant funds?

Once you have been selected, your grant will be awarded by RAEDI via check, sent to your mailing address as indicated on the application.

If I am not selected for a grant, will I be notified?

We will attempt to notify all applicants who provided an email address about the status of their application. However, due to the large volume of applications, we may not be able to get to everyone quickly.

What documentation will I be asked to provide?

After you have been selected for an award, you may be asked by RAEDI for documentation that verifies you are eligible to receive a grant. Some examples of documentation you may be asked to provide include – but are not limited to – the following: sales tax reporting, period statements from third-party sales platforms, merchant services statements, point of sale or register reports, third-party payroll processor reports, federal form 941/employer's quarterly federal tax return, or other state or federal payroll-related filings.

If I am selected, what kind of documents will I have to sign to get this grant money?

By completing the application, you are certifying that you are eligible to receive this grant and that the grant will be used for eligible uses only. Therefore, awards will be made without additional contracts or certifications.

What can the funds be used for?

Grant funds shall be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar expenses that occur or have occurred since March 1, 2020, in the regular course of business. All uses must be exclusively for Minnesota operations. These funds cannot be used for the same expenses as other CARES Act funds – for example, payroll, if that payroll is paid for by PPP.

Can the funds be used to pay business-related insurance deductibles?

Yes.

Can the funds be used to repair my facility or equipment?

Yes.

Can the funds be used to purchase equipment?

No. Grant funds shall be used for working capital expenses that occur in the regular course of business. The purchase of equipment is not regarded as a working capital expense.

Can the funds be used to pay back taxes including property taxes?

No.

Under any circumstances will I have to pay the grant back?

This is a grant - not a loan - and you will not be required to pay it back. However, Olmsted County reserves the right to audit the use of funds and may conduct an audit check on a random selection of grant recipients. Grant recipients who are found to have violated the terms of the application process or grant agreement may be required to refund the county.

Is the amount of the grant taxable to the recipient business?

Please consult your accountant, lawyer, or other tax advisor. RAEDI is unable to provide tax advice.

I am self-employed, and I’m receiving unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. If I receive a grant from this program, how will that affect my unemployment benefits?

Please refer to Unemployment Insurance rules and procedures for how to report a grant as income when you request your weekly benefit.

What kind of businesses can not apply for a grant through this program?

The following businesses would not be eligible:

  • A business deriving income from passive investments without operational ties to operating businesses.
  • A business primarily focusing on speculative activities based on fluctuations in price rather than the normal course of trade.
  • A business earning more than half of its annual net revenue from lending.
  • A business engaging in pyramid sales, where a participant's primary incentive is based on the sales of an ever-increasing number of participants.
  • A business engaging in activities prohibited by federal law or applicable law in the local jurisdiction of the business.
  • A business engaging in gambling enterprises, unless the business earns less than 50% of its annual net revenue from lottery sales.
  • A business late in payment to any creditors by 60 days or more as of February 29th, 2020.
  • A business owned in-whole or in-part by Olmsted County or RAEDI employees.
  • A business permanently closed at the time this application is submitted.

Do I have to create or retain jobs for a grant?

No, there are no job creation requirements for the Olmsted County Small Business Relief Grants.

Can the funds be used for business acquisition and/or the purchase of land or building?

No.

How long will this program last?

Olmsted County has approved this as a one-time small business relief program. All funds must be disbursed by Dec. 31, 2020. We expect all funds to be disbursed by mid-September.

I applied for and received a grant from another source (local or city government, nonprofit, foundation, etc.). Can I still receive a grant from the state through this program?

Yes.

I received a Paycheck Protection Program loan or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (or any other federal SBA loan or grant, including an EIDL Advance). Am I still eligible for a grant from this program?

Yes.

If I receive a grant from this program, how does that affect my Paycheck Protection Program loan?

Please refer this question to your PPP loan servicer or financial advisor.

I received a Small Business Emergency Loan Program (SBEL) loan. Can I still receive a grant through this program?

Yes.

I still have questions and I am not finding answers in this FAQ. Where do I send my questions?

You can send your questions to info@raedi.com. We will be reading all questions that come in and updating the FAQ as quickly as possible. Due to the large volume of inquiries, we may not be able to respond individually to each question in a timely manner.

 

Contact us

Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) value proposition is the ability to assist businesses and entrepreneurs in securing the private and/or public resources needed to execute their business plans. RAEDI is pleased to assist you with your request.

Please call 507-288-0208, email info@raedi.com, or fill out the form below.