City of Long BeachSmall Business Relief Grant
The Small Business Relief Grant is made possible by the Long Beach Recovery Act to help local small businesses that have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19 to recover and stabilize. The City of Long Beach Small Business Relief Grant will provide direct financial relief to small Long Beach businesses that are not eligible for the Restaurant, Brewery, and Bar Relief Grant or the Personal Services and Fitness Relief Grant.
Grant Amount: Grants range from $2,500, $5,000, $7,500 and up to $10,000. Funding levels will be determined by gross revenue.
• Grant applications will be open for 60 days and are available from 11:00 AM PDT March 16, 2022, until 8:00 PM PDT May 15, 2022.
• The City will begin to review and award grant applications on April 15th, so businesses are encouraged to apply early.
• Grant awards will be issued after April 15, 2022. It could take up to 3 to 4 weeks for a grantee to receive funds
The City of Long Beach Small Business Relief Grant application window has closed.
How to Apply
You will need to set up an account to apply online.
Long Beach has partnered with LiveStories/FORWARD to manage the application process and distribute awards.
To access the online application form, you will need to set up an account in FORWARD.
On the login page, click on the link to "Create business, non-profit account" You will be prompted to register for an account; the prompt will ask for your Business/Organization name and email address.
Once you have entered your information, FORWARD will send an email to create a secure password. After you set your password, login and start the application process. Please check your SPAM/Junk folder if you don’t receive the email.
We recommend using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari as browsers.
If your application is successful, you will be notified by email. At that point, you will receive a Grant Agreement to sign and you will be asked if you would like to receive the funds via ACH direct deposit or paper check. For a paper check, you will have to provide the address that you would like to receive your paper check; in most cases, the address you have provided on your W-9 will be utilized. For ACH, you will have to provide a voided check with the account and routing numbers on it.
Grant payments will be made in April-June.
Please note: Communications about the application and award will come by email from firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure to check your spam folders as the award emails will come from LiveStories/FORWARD on behalf of The City of Long Beach. Please be sure to monitor your email, including Junk or "spam" folders.
1. Must be located and operating within the boundaries of Long Beach, California (address cannot be a PO Box or an address that leads to a Shipping Center as their physical location)
2. Must have a City of Long Beach business license. The business must hold an active or delinquent license. Businesses that have closed or cancelled their licenses are not eligible for the program.
3. Must be private for-profit business including sole proprietorships
4. Must have experienced financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and the related health and safety restrictions, such as business interruptions or closures incurred due to the pandemic. Must be willing to self-attest under penalty of perjury that the business experienced financial hardship. Grant recipients may be subject to an audit administered by the City to verify financial hardship.
5. Must be currently open and active for business
6. Be an independently-owned business
7. Have less than 200 employees
8. Earn no more than $2 million in annual gross revenue
9. Corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships must have an “ACTIVE” status with the California Secretary of State.
NOTE: U.S. Citizenship is not required for this program, and non US citizens are encouraged to apply.
• City of Long Beach Business License Number
• Latest tax returns (2021 if completed or 2020) Form 1040 or Schedule C. (Start-up businesses must have received a City of Long Beach business license no later than March 1, 2022.)
• Copy of photo ID to verify identity. Examples of eligible forms of ID include the following:
Valid Driver’s License
State-issued Identification Card
Student Identification Card
Military Identification Card
Passport or Passport Card
• Completed W-9
• (Optional) Proof of theft/vandalism/property damage. If your business experienced vandalism, theft, or property damages, please upload documentation that supports your claim. Examples of eligible documentation include the following:
Pictures of damages
Quotes received from vendors to repair damages
How to Create an account in FORWARD
Small Business Relief Grant Frequently Asked Questions
How will the applications be reviewed?
In order to support the most vulnerable in Long Beach, the City of Long Beach is prioritizing the equitable distribution of resources for Long Beach Recovery Act small business programs. All applications will be scored using a weighted-selection process to prioritize resources for diverse entrepreneurs, brick-and-mortar businesses, businesses that were in existence prior to March 2020, and businesses located in low-and-moderate income areas.
How long will I have to apply once the application portal opens?
Grant applications will be open for 60 days and are available from 11:00 a.m. March 16, 2022, until 8:00 p.m. May 15, 2022. The City will begin to review and award grant applications on April 15th, so businesses are encouraged to apply early. Grant awards will be issued after April 15, 2022. It could take up to 3 to 4 weeks for a grantee to receive funds.
If I am eligible and apply for the Restaurant, Bar, and Brewery or the Personal Services and Fitness Relief Grants, can I still apply for the Small Business Relief Grant?
No, the Small Business Relief Grant is designed to help those businesses who are NOT eligible for the Restaurant, Bar, and Brewery Relief Grant or the Personal Services and Fitness Relief Grant.
Are certain businesses ineligible for assistance?
Yes, the following businesses are not eligible for these programs:
1. Businesses without a physical location in Long Beach, California
2. Businesses that are permanently closed where the business owner has no intention of starting a new business in Long Beach, California.
3. Government entities or elected official offices
4. Businesses primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities
5. Passive businesses, investment companies, and investors who file a Schedule E on their personal tax returns
6. Churches and other religious organizations
7. Financial businesses primarily engaged in the business of lending, such as banks and finance companies
8. Landlords and property managers
9. Businesses engaged in any activity that is illegal under federal, state, or local law
10. Businesses engaged in any socially undesirable activity or activity that may be considered predatory in nature such as check cashing businesses
11. Businesses that have active and unresolved code enforcement and COVID-19 Health Order violations
12. Cannabis businesses
If my business has outstanding license fees, am I still eligible?
Is US citizenship required for this grant?
No, US citizenship is not required.
Is this grant program first come, first served?
No. The City of Long Beach is prioritizing the equitable distribution of resources for Long Beach Recovery Act small business programs. All applications will be scored using a weighted-selection process to prioritize resources for diverse entrepreneurs, brick-and-mortar businesses, businesses that were in existence prior to March 2020, and businesses located in low-and-moderate income areas.
Financial assistance will be provided to eligible small businesses with final award recommendations based on the availability of funds, program guidelines, and the submission of all required information and supporting documentation.
Are there restrictions to the way the funds can be used?
Uses of Funds: Grant funds may only be used for allowable expenses incurred on or after March 3, 2021.
Grant recipients will be required to attest to their intent to use grant funding for the following eligible uses:
1. Commercial rent
3. Utilities (e.g., commercial electric or gas bills, internet, etc.)
4. Personal Protective Equipment (e.g., facemasks, hand sanitizer, face shields, etc.)
5. Furniture, fixtures, equipment
6. Technology hardware and digital resources
8. Related expenses that are required to operate a small business
9. Repairs and expenses related to theft/vandalism/property damage
Are there Linguistic/Translation services available?
Our online application can be translated to any of the 68 languages we have provided. If you need assistance completing the grant application, please contact the City's BizCare hotline at (562) 570-4249.
How do I apply?
After reading the eligibility guidelines carefully, click the Apply button which will be active from 11:00 a.m. PDT March 16, 2022, until 8:00 p.m. PDT May 15, 2022.
Step 1: Create a FORWARD account. On the login page, click on the link to "Create business, non-profit account." You will be prompted to register for an account; the prompt will ask for your Business/Organization name and email address.
Once you have entered that, FORWARD will send an email to your email account that you used to create an account to set a secure password. After you create your password, login, and start the application process, please check your SPAM/Junk folder if you don’t receive the email. Signing up with FORWARD is free.
Step 2: Click on the "City of Long Beach Small Business Assistance Grant," then click on the "Apply" button to start the application process.
Step 3: Fill out the application. Complete the required information, questions, and certifications.
Step 4: Submit. Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email from email@example.com to the email address you used to sign up with FORWARD.
What is an EIN or TIN #?
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN) and is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN. Like a Social Security number, the EIN number is nine digits long and assigned by the federal government. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers who are required to file various business tax returns.
Will I receive a notification that my application has been received?
Yes. You will receive an email confirmation from firstname.lastname@example.org once your application is received. Check your spam/junk folder if you do not receive an email shortly after submitting your application.
Will I be able to edit my submission after applying should I make an error?
No. However, if you need to correct an error, please get in touch with email@example.com, and our team can work with you to provide additional and correct information to your application.
Logistics and Portal Questions
Why is the application period only open for 60 days?
Due to the limitations on the available funding, the City will open the application period for 60 days. If funding remains after the grant application has closed, the City may open another round of funding for the program.
Who do I contact for help?
The LiveStories/FORWARD Technical Support will be provided by phone and/or email to any applicants with questions related to the FORWARD platform. For technical support, call (855) 582-3973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The hours for the support line are 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM Monday-Friday.
Who is LiveStories and FORWARD?
The City of Long Beach has partnered with LiveStories/FORWARD to manage the application process and distribute awards. LiveStories is a Washington state technology company that powers the FORWARD application portal. LiveStories offers application services for programs such as this nationwide.
What is the maximum amount of the grant, and what are the terms of the grant?
If an applicant submits a successful application and meets all the eligibility criteria, the maximum amount of the grant is $10,000.
Long Beach reserves the right to modify (increase or decrease) grant award amounts depending on the number of applicants and funds available.
How will I be notified if I am awarded a grant?
You will receive an email from email@example.com notifying you if you have been awarded a grant and included in the email will be "Next Steps".
Is this grant taxable income?
These grants are funded with Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds through the American Rescue Plan Act and are generally excluded from the recipient's gross taxable income. Grant recipients are advised to consult their accountant or tax advisor for any further questions regarding their tax obligation for this grant.
Does anything need to be repaid?
No, these grants do not need to be repaid. However, grant recipients will be required to attest to their intent to use grant funding for eligible uses under the program. Grant recipients may be subject to an audit administered by the City to verify that grant funding was spent on eligible expenses.
Will receiving a grant impact other federal assistance or unemployment insurance eligibility?
You will need to check with those assistance providers.
How long will it take for a successful applicant to receive an award and in what format?
Once all submissions are reviewed, awardees will be notified via email in April/May if they have been selected to receive funds.
How will funds be distributed?
Long Beach's partner, LiveStories/FORWARD, is able to provide ACH direct deposit, as well as sending out paper checks via USPS to the address on your W-9 or other location you designate. Awardees will make this decision upon notification of award.
Will there be more grant opportunities?
Additional small business funding may be provided through federal or state government action. For more information please contact the City's BizCare Hotline at (562) 570-4249 or email 4Biz@longbeach.gov.
My organization is new and I don't have a tax return, how do I submit?
Please upload a blank document in place of your tax return as this is a required document for all submission through the platform. Startup organizations are not required to provide tax returns and your application will still be considered for grant funding.