Business Grants & Loans Update: Restaurant Recovery + Federal, State and Local Opportunities

With President Biden signing the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act into law last week, new sources of business support are springing into life, paired with extensions and updates to many pre-existing programs. The act adds new funding to both the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Restaurant owners nationwide are awaiting dates and full details from the SBA on the roll-out of the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, as a key part of the American Rescue Plan. That considerable pool of funding will be distributed in grants (not possibly-forgivable loans) of up to $5 million per location, with a maximum of 20 locations.

Eligibility is set to be calculated by subtracting 2020 revenues between February 1 and December 31, from those of 2019 (and then further reduced by any PPP funds already received). The grant money can be spent on a wide array of operating expenses, including fundamental supplies such as food, beverages, packaging and protective employee gear alongside big-ticket expenses, such as paying for the construction of outdoor dining areas. The new grants will not be taxable as income.

According to the Small Business Administration, applications will open ‘within’ weeks. More information as it becomes available can also be found at the Independent Restaurant Coalition and the National Restaurant Association websites, where you can also sign up for email alerts. Both of these organizations worked hard to have this specific help for restaurants included in the ARPA, with the IRC in particular pushing to target relief to the smallest operators (specifically those with less than 20 locations).

The GSBA Ready For Business Fund

A recent addition to funding options is the second round of funding co-created by the GSBA and Comcast Washington to support small businesses. The Greater Seattle Business Association is Washington State’s LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce and is the largest of its kind in North America, representing over 1,300 small business, corporate, and nonprofit members who share the values of promoting equality and diversity in the workplace.

The grant is open to any small business in Washington State established prior to March 2, 2020. Priority will be given to small businesses within the communities most impacted by COVID-19, including LGBTQ-, BIPOC-, and women-owned businesses, as well as businesses located in rural areas.

Applications are now open and will close on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 4 pm PDT

A $2,500 cash grant will be awarded to selected small businesses. Additionally, awardees will receive wrap-around support services including GSBA membership, technical support, marketing, and consulting. This grant does not have to be repaid, and it can be used for any purpose to help the business recover from the economic crisis.

Important details and resources for small businesses, sole proprietors, and nonprofit employers:

Finally, please also note an important change in eligibility for the Shuttered Venues program: Initially the receipt or application for PPP funds after 12/27/2020 was a disqualifying factor. Entities originally were prohibited from receiving both forms of SBA assistance. With the American Rescue Plan Act, which became law on March 11, 2021, this restriction was removed. However, under the law, entities will be ineligible for a PPP loan AFTER they receive an SVOG.

As always, if you need free guidance about applying for any of the 2021 grants and loans, please reach out to Jaime Forsyth and her Poulsbo-based team at the Kitsap Small Business Development Center for assistance at [email protected] or call (360) 447-8788.

Alternatively, help is also available from the State Department of Commerce’s StartUp Washington Small Business Resiliency Assistance