Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday announced the launch of a grant program that will provide $5,000 grants to 5,000 small Los Angeles businesses.
The city is using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to provide $25 million worth of grants to small businesses in need of financial help due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money will be disbursed through the Comeback Checks Program, and recipients will be selected through a weighted lottery process.
The application period for this first round opened at noon Tuesday and runs through Nov. 2. To apply, visit comebackchecksla.com.
“The money can go to whatever you need,” Garcetti said, speaking from a small business in Chinatown. “It can go to payroll, it can go to equipment, it can go to rent, it can go to insurance. It could pay off outstanding invoices, or simply just as working capital to continue operations.”
The page says grantees must use the funds for operational expenditures related to the pandemic that were incurred after March 3. Eligible expenses can include employee wages and benefits, rent, utilities or payments to vendors.
To be eligible, businesses have to be located within the city of L.A. and have an active Business Tax Registration Certificate. They also need to have been in operation since March 1, 2020, and experienced financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
Locally-owned franchises are eligible for the grants, but franchises that are nationally or regionally-owned are not eligible, according to city officials.
Other ineligible businesses include cannabis businesses, liquor stores, smoke shops, casinos and gun stores. More information on ineligible businesses can be found here.
While applicants will be chosen through a random selection process, the businesses will be awarded grant funds after a review of all required information.
The grants will then be distributed in three rounds by the L.A. Economic and Workforce Development Department.
Applicants that are not selected as finalists at the end of the first rounds, will still be eligible for later rounds, authorities said.
“The Comeback Checks grant program provides a much-needed boost for the City’s mom-and-pop shops, local restaurants, and small businesses to rebound.” said Carolyn Hull of the Economic and Workforce Development Department. “Angelenos are resilient, and these grants offer our small businesses financial support to fortify and propel their journey toward economic recovery.”
Those with businesses in L.A. County, but outside of the City of L.A., can visit LACOVIDfund.org to sign-up for notifications on grant opportunities.