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The Access to Capital program was a part of the City of Charlotte’s Open for Business Initiative that distributed more than $30 million in federal CARES Act funding to small businesses and over $7 million to food and beverage businesses headquartered within the city limits of Charlotte. Grants were either $10,000 or $25,000, depending on number of employees.

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See below for the list of recipients:

 

 

More than 2800 awards were received by local businesses. Of those, 2500 awards came from the small business relief fund, with 82% going to microbusinesses and 42% going to African American-owned businesses. In addition to the Small Business Relief Fund, the city created its Food and Beverage Support program to support businesses in the food and beverage industry, which awarded 340 grants. However, the work is not done. The city stands ready to support our small business in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ’s for Small Business Relief Fund

Why did I not receive a grant?
As anticipated, these programs were oversubscribed, and the amount of available Federal CARES Act funding only allowed grants to just over 50% of applicants.

How much money was granted?
More than $30 million was granted to nearly 2,500 businesses in increments of $10,000 or $25,000 based on employee count.

How were applications selected for review?
Eligible applicants with complete applications were randomly selected for review via a software algorithm – not on a first-come first-served basis. Initially, businesses that had not received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program or other governmental funding were prioritized. Businesses that had received government funding became eligible for selection in mid-August.

I sent my application in on the first day. How could I not have been chosen?
Applications for the Small Business Recovery Grant program were selected randomly for review by computer software – not on a first-come, first-served bases. It was a randomized process that did not rely on the timing of when the application was received. While applying early increased your chances for selection, it did not guarantee your application would be selected.

Were all businesses considered for random selection?
Only businesses that met the programs’ eligibility criteria and had a correct application were available for random selection.

Eligibility requirements were:

  • Business must be headquartered within the city limits of Charlotte, NC.
  • Must have 25 or fewer employees.
  • Business must have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Business must have been established before January 1, 2020.
  • Gross sales for 2019 must be at least $30,000 and less than $2 million.
  • Applicants cannot currently be engaged in bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Nonprofit organizations, liquor stores, check cashing agencies, gun shops, pawn shops and adult entertainment businesses are ineligible for this program.
  • Applicants may not apply for multiple businesses.

Initially, businesses that had not received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program or other governmental funding were prioritized. Businesses that had received government funding became eligible for selection in mid-August.

I provided the additional documentation/information you requested. Why did I not receive a grant?
Our customer service team worked with hundreds of businesses who had problems with their applications to ensure their applications were complete, correct and ready to go in the event they were randomly selected to be reviewed for a grant award. Unfortunately, there were businesses with correct applications that were not randomly selected for review.

As anticipated, these programs were oversubscribed, and the amount of available Federal CARES Act funding only allowed grants to just over 50% of applicants.

Are there other grant opportunities?
At this time, the City of Charlotte does not have additional grant programs planned. We recommend that you continue to periodically check the City’s website www.CharlotteOpenForBusiness.com as other opportunities may be available in the future.

I would still like to talk to someone.
Call our customer service line at 704.998.6499 until November 24 at 5 p.m.


FAQ’s for Food Service Recovery Grant

Why did I not receive a grant?
The number of eligible applicants exceeded the amount of funding available for this program.

How much money was granted?
More than $7 million was distributed to 340 restaurants, bars, caterers, food trucks and live music venues in increments of $10,000 or $25,000 based on employee count.

How were applications selected?
Eligible applicants with complete applications were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications for eligible food service businesses that had applied to the Small Business Recovery Program – but had not yet been funded – were automatically moved to the pool for the Food Service Recovery grants.

Eligibility requirements were:

  • Open to restaurants, bars, food trucks and caterers.
  • Business must be headquartered within the city limits of Charlotte, NC.
  • Business must have been conducting business before January 1, 2020.
  • Applicants cannot currently be engaged in bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Liquor stores and adult entertainment establishments are not eligible.
  • The business must be included in the Mecklenburg County database as having paid the Food and Beverage Tax in 2019, as well as having submitted this form to the County in August or September of 2020, even if the submission shows $0 revenue.
  • If an applicant’s property is listed in Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department’s Nuisance Abatement Program, the City reserves the right to decline to issue a grant, following a review of calls for service to CMPD in connection with such property.

I provided the additional documentation/information you requested. Why did I not receive a grant?
Our customer service team worked with businesses who had problems with their applications to ensure their applications were complete and correct. Unfortunately, due to the fact that grants were awarded on a first-come first-served basis, there were businesses with correct applications that did not receive grants before funding was depleted.

Are there other grant opportunities?
At this time, the City of Charlotte does not have additional grant programs planned. We recommend that you continue to periodically check the City’s website www.CharlotteOpenForBusiness.com as other opportunities may be available in the future.

I would still like to talk to someone.
Call our customer service line at 704.998.6499 until November 24 at 5 p.m.

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