COVID-19 Available Business Loans and Grants

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Applications now open for Preserve the Fort small business grants

The City of Fort Worth is partnering with the United Way of Tarrant County to distribute $10 million of CARES Act funds to Fort Worth businesses through the Preserve the Fort grant program.

Applications are open now, and will close at 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 8.

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Small business support

Women & minority-owned businesses


Last updated May 12, 2020

Federal funding and the CARES Act

The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) can assist small businesses with accessing federal resources and navigating their own preparedness plans as described by the CDC's Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

The SBA works with a number of local partners to counsel, mentor and train small businesses. The SBA has 68 District Offices, as well as support provided by its Resource Partners, such as SCORE offices, Women's Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers. Resource partners such as SCORE and the Tarrant Small Business Development Center can be reached at the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, located at 1150 S. Freeway, Fort Worth, TX 76104.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

On March 27, Congress approved the CARES Act, a federal bill to provide economic relief for individuals and businesses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One major component of the CARES Act is the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides small businesses with enough funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including benefits. These funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. When used for these purposes, the funds are eligible to be fully forgiven.

Loan payments will be deferred for six months, and no collateral or personal guarantees are required. Small businesses will not be charged fees by either government or lenders.

The federal government approved a second round of funding after the first round were depleted, which was released on April 27, 2020. Currently, there are still funds available and small businesses are encouraged to apply.

Important points to keep in mind:

  • Loan forgiveness depends on businesses keeping employees on the payroll, or rehiring employees quickly, while maintaining salary levels. At least 75% of the loan amount must be used for payroll expenses in order for the loan to be fully forgiven, and loan forgiveness will be reduced if salaries decrease, or if the number of full-time employees declines. Borrowers will not be penalized for employees that refuse their offer for rehire, as long as they made a good faith, written offer and the employee's rejection was documented.
  • All small businesses are eligible. This means a business with 500 employees or less, and includes nonprofits, veterans' organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors.
  • All loans will have the same terms, regardless of the lender or borrower.
  • Unemployment benefits have been extended to self-employed workers, independent contractors, and those with limited work history. Unemployment insurance provisions now include an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient for up to four months.
  • Businesses can apply for both the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, but cannot duplicate expenses.
  • A list of Frequently Asked Questions for lenders and borrowers is available on the SBA website.

View a PDF guide to the Paycheck Protection Program.

Visit the Paycheck Protection Program webpage for the most up to date information.

Contact your financial institution to determine when they expect to begin processing applications.

Find a nearby lender eligible to issue a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program

Business owners can download the application online, fill it out, and take it to any existing SBA 7(a) lending partner, federally insured bank, or federally insured credit union to officially file it. (These institutions may allow for submission via email on their website.) Business owners may be asked to provide their tax and payroll information, as well as information about their rent and utility costs.

To expedite the process, prepare the following for your banker:

  • Date the business started.
  • Business' mailing address.
  • If filed, the business' 2019 Federal Tax Return. If not yet filed, complete 2019 financials should be prepared, including the business' profit/loss and balance sheet.
  • IRS Form 941 - Employer's Quarterly Federal Income Tax Return for all four quarters in 2019.
  • The number of employees paid more than $100,000 per year.
  • Calculation of the total payroll for employees paid during the applicable base period, including amounts paid about a prorated annual salary of $100,000.
  • Other documents may be required, if you're filing with a new bank:
    • Entity documents
    • Certificate of good standing
    • Copy of Borrowing Authority - an IRS letter assigning your employer identification number, Certificate of Incorporation filed with the state, Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws (or Operating Agreement if LLC), Partnership Agreement and Assumed Name Certificate filed with the state, if applicable.

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SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

The SBA is providing targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that are severely impacted by the situation surrounding COVID-19. Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and some private nonprofit organizations may be eligible for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EILD) of up to $2 million, providing them with the necessary working capital to help businesses survive until normal operations resume.

According to SBA partners, businesses who have already submitted an application but have not yet received funding will likely be first in line for the next round of funding, if they do not withdraw their application. Additionally, businesses are encouraged to prepare all documentation with their financial institution so it's ready to submit immediately when the next round of funding is released.

Visit the Economic Injury Disaster Loan webpage for the most up to date information.

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Other SBA Loans

The U.S. Small Business Association provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to use when operating their business. More information on loans or how to connect with a lender is available on the SBA website.

SBA lending partners

The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) has developed Lender Match, a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders within 48 hours. Many of these programs can also be accessed at the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center.

  • 7(a) program offers loan amounts up to $5,000,000 and is an all-inclusive loan program deployed by lending partners for eligible small businesses within the U.S. States and its territories. The uses of proceeds include: working capital; expansion/renovation; new construction; purchase of land or buildings; purchase of equipment, fixtures; lease-hold improvements; refinancing debt for compelling reasons; seasonal line of credit; inventory; or starting a business.
  • Express loan program provides loans up to $350,000 for no more than 7 years with an option to revolve. There is a turnaround time of 36 hours for approval or denial of a completed application. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
  • Community Advantage loan pilot program allows mission-based lenders to assist small businesses in underserved markets with a maximum loan size of $250,000. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
  • 504 loan program is designed to foster economic development and job creation and/or retention. The eligible use of proceeds is limited to the acquisition or eligible refinance of fixed assets.
  • Microloan program involves making loans through nonprofit lending organizations to underserved markets. Authorized use of loan proceeds includes working capital, supplies, machinery & equipment, and fixtures (does not include real estate). The maximum loan amount is $50,000 with the average loan size of $14,000.

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Local partners and funding programs

Contact the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center at 817-392-2622 to get in touch with one of these partners.

  • Alliance Lending Corporation provides low, fixed-rate loans to for-profit, owner-occupied businesses throughout Texas. ALC specializes in commercial real estate financing with its loan limits ranging from $250,000 to $5.5 million. Contact them by phone at 817-871-6446.
  • PeopleFund provides small business loans, business assistance and financial education to people with otherwise limited access to such resources. With flexible underwriting and no pre-payment penalties, PeopleFund offers loans up to $350,000 with additional benefits for veterans. Contact them by phone at 888-222-0017.
  • William Mann Jr. Community Development Corporation provides financing to small, minority- and women-owned businesses in and around Dallas/Fort Worth. It offers loans that can be used for the purchase of equipment, facility improvements, permanent working capital, and business acquisition. Contact them by phone at 817-871-6267.

Business Resiliency Microloan Program for Fort Worth businesses

The City of Fort Worth is teaming up with PeopleFund to launch the Business Resiliency Microloan Program, which is prepared to provide at least $850,000 to eligible businesses in Fort Worth who are being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll or accounts payable, or cover other bills that can’t be paid due to the pandemic. All small businesses and nonprofits with 500 employees or less or eligible, as are independent contractors and sole proprietors.

While maximum loan amounts may reach $50,000, at least half of these loans will be $15,000 or less, and at least 60% of loan proceeds will be allocated to minority-owned businesses and those with low to moderate income.

Eligibility

Businesses are eligible for these loans if they have an established physical address in Fort Worth, and if the business is current with city and county property taxes. Additionally, all applicants are required to apply for available federal assistance before applying to the Business Resiliency Microloan Program. (PeopleFund can provide assistance with those applications, as needed.)

Additional loan terms

  • Zero interest rate and no payments for the first six months, after which there will be an interest rate of 5% or less.
  • Loans are fully amortized over a total term of up to 78 months.
  • Loans can be repaid early at any time with no penalties.
  • These loans can be combined with other PeopleFund programs.

Apply now on the PeopleFund website.


Preserve the Fort Small Business Grants

Fort Worth recently received approximately $158 million in funding from the CARES Act, and is partnering with the United Way of Tarrant County to distribute $10 million of those funds to Fort Worth businesses through the Preserve the Fort grant program.

Of the $10 million allocated for Preserve the Fort grants, $2.5 million will be dedicated to supporting minority-owned businesses, and another $2.5 million is reserved for businesses located in the city's Neighborhood Empowerment Zones and Designated Investment Zones – areas of Fort Worth that are predominantly low-to-moderate income, which the city has already identified for revitalization efforts.

Grant applications will be processed with the help of partners at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce.

Applications for Preserve the Fort grants open Tuesday, May 26, and close at 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 8.

Learn more and apply on the Preserve the Fort page



Support for all small businesses

Some grants and funds are exhausted at this time, but likely will continue to fundraise or seek new sources for additional rounds of funding. Businesses are encouraged to still apply if possible, or sign up with these organizations to receive notifications for future funding opportunities.

  • Business For All is providing grants upto $50,000 to support business growth, including $10,000 emergency COVID-19 Business for All Grants to help small businesses in crisis.
  • eBay's New Seller Program is investing $100 million towards small businesses by allowing businesses that have never used their platform to sign up for their Basic Store to sell products online free for three months.
  • Facebook is offering will be providing $300,000 to about 75 organizations in Tarrant County, and another $250,000 to more than 60 small businesses in Dallas County, through their Small Business Grants program. These grants will be approximately $4,000, and made up of a combination of cash and ad credits. Small businesses who have been in business for more than one year and have between 2-50 employees are eligible. Applications open at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 22, and will remain open for two weeks.
  • FedEx #SupportSmall Grant Program is committing $1 million in grants for small businesses in the United States. Recipients will receive $5,000 plus a $500 credit from FedEx Office that can be used for printing banners, posters, floor graphics, custom branded boxes, and more. Applications open May 25.
  • Fort Worth's Business Resiliency Microloan Program is a collaboration between the City of Fort Worth and PeopleFund which is prepared to provide at least $850,000 to eligible businesses in Fort Worth who are being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Google Advertising Grants are giving away $340 million worth of ad credits for small and medium-sized businesses for free online advertising using the Google Ads platforms to help businesses continue to reach their customers.
  • JPMorgan pledged a $50 million global philanthropic commitment to support communities and people hit hardest by this public health crisis, including $2 million to existing nonprofit partners and $8 million to assist small businesses.
  • MainVest, a crowdfunding platform, announced its new Main Street Initative: a $2,000, zero-interest, 120 day loan for restaurants and other brick and mortars affected by the shutdown.
  • Protect the Fort Grant Program is a collaboration between multiple Fort Worth organizations and Facebook that will provide eligible small businesses in Fort Worth up to $5,000 for rent, mortgage, inventory, working capital, payroll, IT or innovation, and/or marketing efforts. Applications open May 13.
  • Salesforce Care Small Business Grants has committed $5 million towards grants of $10,000 each for small businesses. The grant application will be available sometime in mid-April, but business owners can sign up now to be notified of its release. Additionally Salesforce is currently providing free access to their Salesforce Essentials customer relationship management (CRM) tool to help small businesses connect with their customers remotely, and their Tableau data for decision making.

Support for creatives and restaurants

Some grants and funds are exhausted at this time, but likely will continue to fundraise or seek new sources for additional rounds of funding. Businesses are encouraged to still apply if possible, or sign up with these organizations to receive notifications for future funding opportunities.

Creatives & Freelancers


Freelancers and self-employed artists are eligible for the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

  • The Actors Fund is providing assistance to all kinds of performing artists and entertainment industry workers, both union and non-union, to help cover basic living expenses for up to two months by compiling multiple entertainment industry organizations funds. You may be eligible for more than one fund.
  • The Artist Relief Fund is a local collaboration between the United Way, Hear Fort Worth, and Film Fort Worth to help support musicians, visual artists and filmmakers who have lost work due to COVID-19. The fund is open to Fort Worth musicians, filmmakers and visual artists. Qualified applicants will be eligible for a one-time grant of $300.
  • The Freelance Co-op Emergency Fund connects creative freelancers with business resources, and has created the Freelancer COVID-19 Emergency Fund for unforeseen expenses due to the coronavirus.
  • Freelancers Union Relief Fund will offer financial assistance of up to $1,000 per freelance household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs.
  • The New Normal: An Artist's Response to COVID-19 initiative will grant 60+ Fort Worth visual artists with grants of $2,000 or $5,000 to create works that reflect their experience living through the COVID-19 pandemic here in Fort Worth. A panel will selected winners on the strength of their proposal, portfolio, and demonstrated financial need.
  • Professional Beauty Association COVID-19 Relief Fund provides $500 grants to licensed beauty professionals who are unable to work due to COVID-19 and are not participating in a fundraiser such as a GoFundMe for themselves or their salon.
  • Texas Film Commission Resources provides additional statewide and federal funding programs for those in film, creative and related support industries.
  • Texas Music Office Resources has an additional extensive list of grants and funds for those in the music industry.

Additional ways to support local artists are available on Visit Fort Worth's Artist and Musician Support page.

Restaurants


Add your restaurant to Visit Fort Worth's Restaurant and Curbside Take-Out Guide

  • Bartender Emergency Assistance Fund is offering emergency assistance to bartenders through the United States Bartender Guild.
  • Fort Worth Food & Wine Foundation Restaurant Employee Relief Fund allows employees to apply individually, or employers can apply on behalf of all of their employees.
  • Get Shift Done is a North Texas initiative to employ affected hourly workers in the hospitality industry to perform paid shifts for nonprofit organizations and institutions in need during the COVID-19 crisis. It's part of the Get Shift Done for North Texas Fund, which was created at Communities Foundation of Texas.
  • The James Beard Foundation is launching a fund that will be gathering support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need.
  • Kabbage launched an online hub to help boost sales for U.S. small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including a system through which businesses can sell gift cards to consumers for use at a later date.
  • MainVest, a crowdfunding platform, announced its new Main Street Initative: a $2,000, zero-interest, 120 day loan for restaurants and other brick and mortars affected by the shutdown.
  • Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, a program by the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation, provides $500 grants to restaurant industry workers who have lost wages or employment through COVID-19.
  • Southside CARES (Culinary Arts Retail Entertainment & Service) Fund offers $250 grants to Fort Worth's Near Southside businesses, creatives, and gig and service workers that are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. They are also accepting donations via PayPal phone app (@southsidecares) or by visiting the link.
  • Texas Restaurant Relief Fund from the Texas Restaurant Association is distributing grants of up to $5,000 per unit to immediately support independent restaurant's financial needs. They are earmarked for use to keep their doors open and their workers employed.
  • Yelp and GoFundMe have partnered up to help restaurants raise money directly from their Yelp pages, along with providing up to $1 million in total matching grants from the Yelp Foundation. Other restaurant reservation platforms like OpenTable and Resy also allow for restaurants to add their own donation links to these profiles.

Support for women and minority-owned businesses

Some grants and funds are exhausted at this time, but likely will continue to fundraise or seek new sources for additional rounds of funding. Businesses are encouraged to still apply if possible, or sign up with these organizations to receive notifications for future funding opportunities.

  • The AssistHer Emergency Relief Grant from Texas Woman's University assists Texas-based, woman-owned businesses impacted by COVID-19. A total of $1,000,000, spread between 100 grant awards, is available.
  • Hello Alice X GEN X Pitbull Hispanic Business for All Grant is providing emergency $10,000 grants to Latino & Latinx-owned businesses impacted by COVID-19. All applicants will receive access to resources and ongoing support from the Hello Alice community. Application support is also offered in Spanish - El soporte de aplicaciones también se ofrece en español.
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is partnering with Verizon to offer grants up to $10,000 to help small businesses, especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically-underserved communities.
  • Opportunity Fund, which specializes in money lending to small businesses owned by women, immigrants, and people of color, is collaborating with investors and nonprofits to put together coronavirus relief fund that will provide grants and low-interest rate loans.
  • Red Backpack Fund for Female Entrepreneurs is a partnership between Spanx, the Sara Blackley Foundation, and Global Giving to provide $5 million for female entrepreneurs, with the goal of empowering women to strengthen their neighborhoods, cities and countries. The money will go towards 1,000 grants of $5,000 each. Applications open May 4, June 1, July 6, and Aug. 3.
  • Texas Small Business Emergency Micro-grant Source (TSBEMS) from the Texas Black Expo is providing micro-grants of $1,000 to Texas small business owners that have been open at least two years.
  • TruFund Relief Fund is launching a $5 million relief fund to support disadvantaged minority and women owned businesses. The fund aims to help at least 3,000 disadvantaged firms with loans, grants, resiliency training and one-to-one business advisory services. Eligible businesses must have been started prior to August 2019, and located in Alabama, Louisiana, New York, Northern New Jersey and Texas, with a demonstrated economic injury from COVID-19. TruFund is also accepting donations to the fund to help small businesses.

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Take the COVID-19 Business Survey

The city, Chambers of Commerce, and community leaders are all aware of the challenges facing local businesses during this time, and are working on different options to provide assistance.

To that end, all Fort Worth businesses are encouraged to complete the city's COVID-19 Business Survey to help community leaders better understand the effects that current circumstances have had on business revenue, staffing, and other resources.

Take the survey

Partner resources

Download a PDF of these resources

Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce:

Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:

Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce:

Visit Fort Worth:

SCORE Fort Worth:

Sparkyard:

Tarrant County SBDC:

Tarrant County Workforce Solutions:

Fort Worth HR: