Washington Allocates $5 M to Small Business Impact Grants

Washington County has designated $5 million in federal COVID-19 pandemic aid to small business impact grants.

Washington County has allocated $5 million of the County’s federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to implement Small Business Impact Grants. Through the Small Business Impact Grant Program, grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded to small businesses in the County impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development will administer the program. Online, Washington County recounts the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the County’s small businesses and the importance of supporting them through pandemic recovery:
Washington County recognizes the importance of supporting local small businesses that provide critical services, products, and employment opportunities for residents.  The County further acknowledges the adverse impact the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had on our community’s businesses.  This impact includes decreased revenue(s) or gross receipts, financial insecurity, increase in the cost of doing business, a decrease in the ability to weather financial hardship, and challenges in covering operating costs such as payroll, rent, mortgage, and other operating costs.
The Department has already opened the application for Small Business Impact Grants online. The grant period opened June 5, 2023, at 8:00 a.m., EST, and will remain open until June 16, 2023, at 4:00 p.m., EST. Applications will be accepted by electronic submission only.
Completed applications will be processed and awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. According to a Washington County press release, eligibility requirements, grant performance, use of funds, and limitations apply.

Eligibility and grant funding usage

Eligible businesses include organizations that:

  • Is an independent, locally owned, and controlled business or franchise,
  • Owns, rents, or leases a permanent physical location in Washington County, MD,
  • Has no more than 50 employees,
  • Has a current Washington County business license if required, and is in good standing with Washington County, MD government, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the State of Maryland, without outstanding taxes, fees, or other charges, and registered with the State,
  • Obtain a Washington County Business License,
  • Demonstrates operational expenses or purchases via documentation and written narrative incurred due to COVID-19, and
  • The business is in one of the following industry sectors:
    • Agriculture / Agri Business / Farm
    • Brewery / Distillery / Vineyard
    • Construction
    • Gasoline / Diesel / Convenience Store
    • Hospitality
    • Manufacturing
    • Professional services, e.g., bookkeeping, doctor/dentist office, hair salon, dog groomer, etc.
    • Retail
    • Restaurant
    • Transportation / Logistics
    • Wholesale Trade

Businesses are ineligible for funding if:

  • The business employs more than 50 employees,
  • It is a non-profit entity,
  • It is a Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS),
  • Any business whose primary tax authority is not Washington County, MD,
  • Any business related to the cannabis industry and unable to bank federally,
  • Multi-level marketing firms, and/or

The business is in one or more of the following:

  • Homeowner’s associations,
  • Labor unions,
  • Private, political, or public foundations,
  • Fraternal organizations or social clubs, or
  • Churches and religious organizations.

Award amount and grant performance period

  • The maximum grant award is $25,000 and only one application may be submitted from each business entity.
    • Complete applications will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • Funds must be spent by August 1, 2024.
    • If the number of requests exceed the available funding, applications will be prioritized based upon the following:
      • Completeness of application
      • Evidence of business need including written narrative
      • Eligibility of applicant and funding request
    • Performance period commences on June 5, 2023, at 8:00 a.m. EST for ten (10) business days, closing on June 16, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. EST.
    • Applications will only be accepted by electronic submission (hard copy or hand-delivered applications will not be accepted).
    • Applications deemed incomplete will be rejected. Applicant assumes all responsibility for the completeness of its application.
      • On behalf of Washington County, MD Government, the Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development reserves the right to request clarification or additional information as needed during application review.
      • Once submitted, there may not be additional follow-up communication from the granting authority (Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development).
    • Written or typed narrative, along with documents demonstrating negative economic impact by the COVID-19 pandemic mentioned above is required.
    • A W-9 Form must be submitted with the application.
    • Businesses must be established and operating for at least 12 months at the time of application.
      • Businesses that do not meet the above timeframe may still apply for funding, however, the applicant is required to submit a business plan in addition to all other documentation.
    • Businesses must provide a Unique Entity Identification Number (UEI), formerly known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or DUNS Number.
      • For further information on UEI, please visit Sam.gov (an official website of the U.S. Government).
    • Federal, State, and local governments reserve the right to conduct audits of all funds distributed under this grant program for up to five (5) years. Applicant must maintain receipts for the entire five (5) year-period from the date of issuance.
    • Washington County, MD government will issue a Form 1099 following grant disbursement and the grant may be taxable based on that year’s State and Federal tax guidelines. Consult your tax advisor for additional information.

Grant funds can be used to:

  • Support payroll or benefits,
  • Cost to retain employees,
  • Mortgage or rent,
  • Utilities,
  • Technical assistance,
  • Counseling,
  • Business planning support, and/or
  • Other operating costs
For questions regarding the Small Business Impact Grant program or eligibility, applicants can reach out at Impact@WashCo-MD.net.