FOR HARRIS COUNTY SMALL BUSINESSES

A Harris County Grant Program Administered by LiftFund

Thank you for your interest in the Harris County Small Business Relief Fund. The application period for this program is now closed. 

Please click the button below for additional resources available in our community. 

Harris County has created a new $30 Million Small Business Relief Fund to support micro and small businesses recovering from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The application window will open Monday, September 20 at 9:30AM and close Monday, October 4 at 5:30PM Central Standard Time. The application process is not first-come, first-served; all completed applications will be reviewed for eligibility and prioritized based on small business impact parameters. Below you will find more details about this program, including eligibility, funding methodology and timeframe.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Located within Harris County 
  • Registered business operating in Harris County. Check this map see if your business address is located in the county
  • Must have 30 or fewer employees (including part time, contractors and full-time employees and owners)
  • In operation before April 2020
  • Experienced negative impact on operations due to the pandemic
  • Annual revenue of less than $500,000 dollars in 2019 and 2020
  • Be in good standing Texas Comptroller’s office with no outstanding tax obligations or liabilities

Tax-exempt businesses, gambling businesses, residential builders, speculative real estate investors, government entities and sexually-oriented businesses are not eligible. You can view the list of prohibited NAICS codes here. 

Grant Awards & Limitations

The Harris County Small Business Relief Fund will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to eligible micro and small businesses. Funds must be used for business-related expenses, including payroll, working capital, business rent, inventory, supplies, equipment, and other operating costs. 

  • Grant applicants are only eligible to receive one grant award 
  • Only one grant may be awarded per business with more than one location 
  • Limited to one grant per physical address within Harris County

Documentation Required

The grant application will require verification of pertinent documentation. 

  • Personal Identification 
    • Driver’s license or government-issued photo ID
  • Business Information
    • Proof of business registration with Harris County or TX Secretary of State
    • Q1 2021 941, payroll report or 1099 to verify number of employees
    • Business utility bill (water, gas, electric) Home based businesses may provide a home utility bill. 
    • Business Financials: 2019 and 2020 business tax return (additional financial documents, such as bank statements or P&L may be requested if losses cannot be verified by the tax returns)
  • Other
    • DD 214 proof of military discharge (veterans only)

Scoring Methodology

The Harris Small Business Relief Fund awards will not be made on a first-come, first-served basis.  Applications will be assessed and scored using the following methodology. Applications with the highest scores will be reviewed and approved first. Applications will have up to 150 points based on the following five elements, each with a maximum of 30 points.

  • Ownership
    • The program has a priority for woman, minority and veteran-owned businesses
  • Previous access to financial support
    • Receipt of previous federal COVID-19 funding through PPP loan, EIDL or Harris County grants
  • Social Vulnerability Index of business location 
  • Employee count
    • The program has a priority for businesses with fewer than 10 employees
  • Industry 

Timeline & Award Schedule

  • Applications will be accepted from Monday, September 20 at 9:30AM to Monday, October 4 at 5:30PM.
  • The application review period will start on October 5, 2021 and continue through January 9, 2022.
  • The grant funds will be awarded monthly beginning in November 2021 and through January 2022. Eligible applications with the highest scores will be reviewed and awarded first, followed by applications with lower scores. 
  • All grants will be awarded by January 2022.

Partner Organizations

We are proud to partner with local community organizations collaborating as partners. These local agencies will with the application process to help overcome technological or language barriers.  A list of our partner agencies and their contact information can be found here.

Harris County Small Business Relief Fund Info Sessions

We will be hosting virtual info sessions to provide an overview of this grant program.

Questions? Connect with us!

Frequently Asked Questions

It is based on gross revenue. If you file a Schedule C, use Line 1. If you file an 1120, use Line 1a. If you file an 1120-S, use Line 1.

No, number of employees will be calculated based on first quarter 2021.

You may still submit the home utility bill. As long as the address on the utility bill matches the other documentation provided, that can serve as verification of business location.

You will need to submit your 2020 tax return. Additionally, please upload one of the two options below to the application:

  • Business Bank statements from first quarter of 2020 plus business bank statements from any other quarter in 2020
  • A January- August profit and loss statement for 2020 and one for January – August 2021

The amount you are eligible for is based on the number of full time equivalent (FTE) employees you have.

*Max grant amount

Owner only

$10,000

1-10 Additional FTE employees

$15,000

11-20 Additional FTE employees

$20,000

21-30 Additional FTE employees

$25,000

We expect around 2,000 micro and small businesses to be assisted.

Yes. LiftFund and other local community organizations will help applicants navigate the application process and overcome technological or language barriers. More information about the partner organizations can be found here.

You will receive a confirmation email from noreply@bmisw.com.  Please check spam and trash in case it was blocked.

Yes, we will calculate the number of full time equivalent (FTE) employees, including 1099 workers.

The annual revenue amount will only be reviewed for the location listed on the application and not the total of all businesses owned by the applicant.

Yes, businesses are eligible to apply and the amount of previously received funding will be factored into calculation of grant score.

No, the business must have been registered with the county or state and operating on or before April 1, 2020.

Yes, for financial assistance, please visit www.liftfund.com/loan-offerings. You can also attend one of our free upcoming seminars www.liftfund.com/events.

We can be reached by phone at 888-215-2373, by email at sbgrants@liftfund.com or you can submit a question online.

LiftFund is nonprofit community development financial institution with a 27-year track record of elevating underestimated and underserved communities across its 15-state footprint. Since 1994, LiftFund has provided over $409 million in opportunity funding and business education to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. 

In 2020, LiftFund provided over $98.2 million in prompt financial support to small business owners facing the economic impact of COVID-19, including relief loans, small business grants and PPP loans across its 15-state footprint. For more information about LiftFund, visit www.LiftFund.com.

LiftFund has deep roots in Harris County and is a champion for our small business community. Since 1998, LiftFund has provided over $68.7 million in capital and more than 4,300 business loans to East Texas small business owners and entrepreneurs, of which 81% are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), 65% are Low-to-Moderate Income individuals, 43% are women, and 24% are startups. For more information about LiftFund, visit www.LiftFund.com.

Yes, as long as your business is registered with a DBA and you filed a Schedule C in 2019 and 2020 for your business. If your business was registered and began operating in January – March 2020, you do not need to provide a 2019 tax return.

Negative impact can be demonstrated by a decline in either gross or net revenue between 2019 and 2020.

Please attached copies of your 2020 1099s in the application or submit a payroll report.

No, you may only submit one application for one business.

If you reported income from your current business on your schedule C in 2019 and 2020, you may file a DBA at this time and be considered. https://www.cclerk.hctx.net/PersonalRecords.aspx#ANInfo

The business must be registered to be considered.

No, businesses must submit both the 2019 and 2020 business tax returns to be considered, unless the business was registered and began operating in January – March 2020, in which case the 2019 return is not required. Businesses must not have any outstanding tax liabilities.

You will be asked to submit a current business utility bill as part of the application.

You can submit a copy of your business lease agreement.

Yes, the Harris County Small Business Relief program is designed to support micro and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The City of Houston’s program, Harvey Economic Development Program (HEDP), provides support to impacted small businesses and communities through small business loans and grants.

 

Click here for more about the Harvey Economic Development Program (HEDP)

Eligible small businesses applying or receiving support from other City or County program are able to apply for this program.

You are welcome to get assistance in completing the application from a third party, however, the business owner should submit their own application and the contact info listed should be for the owner.