Small Business Stabilization Fund Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is this new round of funding for Small Business Stabilization Fund grants open to new applicants?

Yes.

2. When are applications due?

Applications are due November 9, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. We do not accept late applications.

3. How many people applied in the previous rounds, and how many grants did you fund?

The Office of Economic Development received nearly 9,000 applications during its first cycle when the Small Business Stabilization Fund opened in March 2020. During the second application cycle in November 2020, over 4,000 applications were submitted.

To date, the Small Business Stabilization Fund awarded over $10 million in direct funding to nearly 1,500 small businesses who were impacted by the economic downturn of the pandemic throughout Seattle.

Visit the Small Business Stabilization Fund awardees database for additional information.

4. What was the source of funding for the Stabilization Fund grants?

The Small Business Stabilization Fund was funded by the City of Seattle General Fund and federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the previous five rounds. Round six of the Stabilization Fund is funded by the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CLFR) established under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

5. What are the eligibility requirements?

To qualify for the Small Business Stabilization Fund, eligible businesses must:

  • Have been impacted by COVID-19 and the related health and safety restrictions, such as business interruptions or closures incurred because of the pandemic.
  • Have an active City of Seattle Business License.
  • Have filed City Business and Occupation (B&O) taxes and paid taxes in full if owed.
  • Be in compliance with all federal, state and city laws and regulations.
  • Submit one application per business, address, household, Employee Identification Number (EIN), Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number and/or City Business License number.

Location:

  • Be located in Seattle city limits.
  • Have a physical address and operate in Seattle, which will be validated through submitted Business and Occupation (B&O) tax returns. If your business tax returns do not mention a Seattle address, you will be deemed ineligible.
    • Exception: Creative workers, food trucks and Farmers Market vendors. These businesses must currently do business in the City of Seattle and provide their most frequent Seattle address.
  • Have no more than two locations.

Size:

  • Have up to 50 full-time equivalent employees.
  • Be a sole proprietor, C-corporation, S-corporation, cooperative, limited liability company, partnership or limited partnership, with an annual net revenue of up to two million dollars ($2,000,000), but at least one thousand dollars ($1,000).
    • Seattle’s Finance and Administrative Services department will determine this loss through reported revenue in the business' 2019 and 2020 Business and Occupation (B&O) taxes.

Operations:

  • Be currently open and active for business.
  • Began operating prior to October 19, 2019.
  • Be an independently owned, non-franchise and non-chain business.

Revenue loss:

  • Have an annual net loss totaling or exceeding the grant amount applied for according to City Business and Occupation (B&O) data.

Additional criteria for nonprofit entities:

  • Be a performing arts, cultural institution or business technical assistance nonprofit organization.
  • Have active nonprofit status with Washington Secretary of State.

6. What businesses are NOT eligible to apply?

Businesses NOT eligible to apply for the Small Business Stabilization Fund include:

  • Businesses located in unincorporated King County.
  • Businesses engaged in any activity that is illegal under federal, state or local law.
  • The following 1099 independent contractors:
    • Short- or long-term rental owners or investment property (including Airbnb, Vrbo, etc.).
    • Personal real estate (independent realtors).
    • Ride shares, taxis, food delivery service and car services (such as Uber, Lyft, Yellow Cab, Door Dash, Uber Eats, etc.).
  • 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) or 501(c)(19) nonprofit entities, except performing arts, cultural institutions and business technical assistance nonprofit organizations.

7. How are qualified awardees selected?

After the Small Business Stabilization Fund closes, the Office of Economic Development will begin reviewing applications and selecting grantees on November 10, 2021.

All applicants must submit a completed application by the deadline. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet minimum eligibility requirements upon initial eligibility screening will be eliminated from further consideration. The Office of Economic Development reserves the right to seek clarification and accept or waive any nonmaterial irregularities or informalities in determining whether an application is eligible.

Small Business Stabilization Fund staff members may contact applicants to verify City Business License and Business and Occupation (B&O) tax compliance. At this time, applicants will have 48 hours to confirm compliance to be considered for funding. Staff may contact applicants via phone with an area code of 206 or email ending in @seattle.gov. Businesses can verify the identity of the staff by calling our office at (206) 684-8090 or visiting our team directory page on our website.

To support small businesses that are more likely to have experienced the greatest economic impacts, the Office of Economic Development will ensure that priority is given to businesses from the following underserved communities:

  • Small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).
  • Woman-owned small business.
  • Small businesses located in a highly distressed census tract with a minimum of 30% poverty or not exceeding 60% median income.
    • Note: these areas meet the definition of “low-income communities” (LICs) by the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Small Business Administration has prioritized low-income communities for COVID relief financing.

All applicants will be notified of their status by January 31, 2022.

8. How do we know the businesses selected are eligible to receive funding?

Business owners will complete a series of questions that automatically determine if they are eligible for funding. The Office of Economic Development will work with the Finance and Administrative Services department to verify documentation that is provided in the application.

9. Is the process of choosing awardees equitable and free of bias?

Yes. The City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development does not discriminate or disqualify business applicants based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, country of origin, disability or other demographic categories.

10. How do you ensure that underrepresented and non-English speaking business owners have a fair chance of getting a grant?

  • The Office of Economic Development is working with the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Department of Neighborhoods community liaisons and other community partners to provide outreach and technical assistance to hard-to-reach business owners to inform them of the Stabilization Fund opening and application period.
  • The program will translate necessary application materials to ensure communities that speak languages other than English can have access to this resource.
  • The Small Business Development Team will host a virtual information session on how to apply for the Stabilization Fund on October 21 at 2 p.m. Bilingual interpretation and translated materials will be available in Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese.
  • If applicants do not have access to a computer or reliable internet, they can reach out to the Office of Economic Development for a staff member to assist them in submitting the online application. All branch locations of the Seattle Public Library are available for computer and internet access as well.
  • The Office of Economic Development provides technical assistance, language access services, disability accommodations, materials in alternate formats and accessibility information to support eligible applicants in completing this application. Businesses can access support by calling (206) 684-8090 or emailing oed@seattle.gov.

11. How much money will businesses receive?

Grants are awarded in the amounts of $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000.

12. What can the grant be used for?

Grant money may only be used for the operating expenses of the awarded businesses. The operating expenses are defined as the day-to-day trading operations of the business such as rent, employee salaries and other business operations.

13. Why do businesses have to share financial information?

The Office of Economic Development collects Business and Occupation (B&O) tax and other monthly bill estimates to assess need and future funding, small business compliance, and business financial need to ensure a financial need is met and confirm the business has experienced economic harm due to COVID-19.

14. Are applications and financial records subject to public disclosure?

Generally, application materials are subject to public disclosure. However, Washington state law allows for certain personal and financial information to be withheld from disclosure to protect the privacy of the applicants.

15. Can businesses who were awarded funding in the first five rounds of the Stabilization Fund reapply for this Stabilization Fund grants?

Yes, businesses awarded grants in the first five rounds of the Stabilization Fund will be eligible to apply for this round. All eligible applicants will need to submit an online application, including past awardees and businesses who previously applied.

16. If a business needs cash now, are there any additional resources?

In addition to the City's Small Business Stabilization Fund, there are a number of state, federal and philanthropic resources available to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The Office of Economic Development is offering technical assistance for businesses applying for these resources; visit our resource page to learn more.

17. What are the examples of mobile businesses?

Examples of mobile businesses that would not require a physical brick-and-mortar location for this grant include, but are not limited to:

  • Farmers market vendors.
  • Caterers.
  • Food trucks.
  • Personal trainers.
  • Cleaning services.
  • Junk removal.
  • Moving services.

Please remember all applicants MUST have an up-to-date City of Seattle business license. You can check the status of your business license at filelocal-wa.gov.

18. What classifies as a Creative Industries business?

Examples of Creative Industries businesses that would not require a physical brick-and-mortar location for this grant include, but are not limited to:

  • Film (including immersive technology, multimedia such as AR/VR/MR/XR/CGI/motion capture/gaming/animation, distribution, exhibition, etc.).
  • Music (including musicians, music venues, recording studios, sound technicians, artist management, record labels, booking, etc.).
  • Special events.
  • Photography.
  • Creative agencies (advertising, graphic design, content creation, etc.).
  • Fashion, garment and textiles.
  • Literature (publishing, journalism, writing, copy editing, etc.).

19. Does Creative Industries businesses include individual artists?

Individual artists are Creative Industries businesses and are eligible for the Stabilization Fund.

20. What if family members work at my business, would I include them as full-time equivalent (FTE) employees?

If family members are on payroll, then you would include them as full-time equivalent employees.

21. What if my business had more than 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees on March 1, 2020, but had to reduce my staffing due to the pandemic? Is my business eligible?

Businesses that had more than 50 full-time equivalent employees on March 1, 2020, will not qualify. Your business must have up to 50 full-time equivalent employees.

22. If I am required to have a minimum of 24 months in business, is there a cutoff date of when I should have begun operations?

Businesses who began operations before October 19, 2019, meet the 24-month minimum.

23. My business is currently closed due to COVID, am I eligible to apply?

Businesses who had to close due to COVID are still eligible to apply if they meet the other requirements and have an active Seattle business license. If the business is permanently closed, they are not eligible to apply for the Stabilization Fund.

24. If I am a car sharing driver such as Uber or Lyft, am I eligible?

Car sharing drivers are not eligible.

25. Are daycares eligible?

Yes, daycares are eligible.

26. Are nonprofits eligible?

Some nonprofit entities are eligible. Eligible nonprofits include performing arts, cultural institutions and business technical assistance nonprofit organizations.

27. If my employees are now teleworking, does that count as an additional location?

No, employees who are working remotely do not contribute to an additional location.

28. What is the breakdown of the primary categories?

  • Administrative services (admin support services).
  • Agriculture or natural resources (forestry management, farming, mining, fishing).
  • Business services (legal, accounting, marketing, consulting for businesses).
  • Childcare or daycare.
  • Construction or heavy site work (contractors, heavy civil, residential).
  • Educational services (training, distance learning).
  • Finance, insurance, or real estate (banks, investment banks, insurance brokerages, real estate brokerages).
  • Government (local, state, federal government).
  • Healthcare (medical offices, clinics, nursing homes, massage therapists, dentists).
  • Hospitality (hotels).
  • Creative industries (film; nightlife; special events; photography; advertising, graphic design, content creation; fashion, garment, and textiles; literature, publishing, journalism, copy editing).
  • Food services: restaurants.
  • Food services: bars or taverns.
  • Life sciences or biotech (research and development, pharmaceuticals, medical devices).
  • Manufacturing: aerospace (aerospace suppliers).
  • Manufacturing: food and beverage production (food producers, seafood processing, breweries, wineries, distilleries).
  • Manufacturing: maritime (ship and boat building and repair).
  • Manufacturing: other.
  • Personal services (beauty, fitness, childcare, dry cleaning, personal or consumer services).
  • Print publishing or other information (newspapers, magazines, book publishing, movie production).
  • Professional or technical services (architecture firms, engineering firms).
  • Retail: store.
  • Retail: not a store or e-commerce.
  • Social services (institutional food services, housing, emergency services, social work).
  • Software, cloud-based products and services, or telecommunications (software, cloud competing, internet providers, telecom providers).
  • Transportation or warehousing (trucking, rail, freight forwarding, airlines, warehousing, ground transportation, couriers).
  • Transportation: waterborne (cruises, water-based tours, cargo).
  • Waste services (waste management).
  • Wholesalers, wholesale merchants.

29. My business applied in March 2020 and November 2020; do I need to reapply for round six of the Small Business Stabilization Fund? 

Businesses who applied in March and November 2020 need to reapply for round six of the Small Business Stabilization Fund. All eligible applicants will need to submit an online application.

30. What if I could not find my business in the top search bar? 

If you cannot find your business in the top search bar, try refreshing the page and searching for your business with your business name, address, Unique Business Identifier (UBI) number or City Business License number. 

Note: If your City Business License number (City Customer Number) does not show up after refreshing the page or if you receive an error message, there is chance that your business is not in compliance. Please refer to the Required Documentation section for information, visit the Find a Business search tool to look for your City Business License number, and immediately email tax@seattle.gov to check the tax status of your business.        

You can still apply for the grant if you cannot find your business in the top search bar; please manually enter your business and contact information in the application portal.

31. My business received a Small Business Stabilization Fund; how will I receive my 1099 form? 

The City of Seattle Finance and Administrative Services mailed 1099 forms to the addresses listed on W-9 at the end of January. This does not include C-corporations, S-corporations or nonprofits. For businesses that did not receive or misplaced their 1099 forms, please contact Kim Roberts at Kim.Roberts@seattle.gov for an emailed copy. 

Questions? 

For additional questions, please contact Office of Economic Development at (206) 684-8090 or oed@seattle.gov.