Since 1988, SEVCA’s Micro Business program has helped many Vermonters start or expand a small entrepreneurial business. We offer core business concept training and support services to individuals with low to moderate incomes who want to start, expand, or enhance their business. The importance of self-employment in Vermont's economy has long been recognized. SEVCA’s Micro Business program helps to foster economic self-sufficiency for residents of Windham and Windsor counties.
COVID 19 Micro Business Relief Program
EMBRACE Grants for Micro Businesses
Click HERE to apply.
The Micro Business Development Program (MBDP) is pleased to announce the Economic Micro Business Recovery Assistance for the COVID-19 Epidemic (EMBRACE) grant. The initial grant application will be available starting August 20th, 2020. These grants will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. To qualify for the E.M.B.R.A.C.E. grant program:
1) You must be a Vermont state resident over the age of 18 with an active Vermont-based micro business and legally registered with the State of Vermont on or before 03/01/2020.
Micro Business Definition: A business with less than 5 employees including the owner
2) Your business needs to have been financially affected by COVID-19 between 03/01/2020 & 11/01/2020.
3) Your household income must be at or below 80% of Vermont state median household income. The application will automatically calculate this based on income and the number of people living at your residence.
4) Your business is not engaged in the following: Cannabis-related services, Firearm Sales, Lobbying, Franchise / Chain, Consultant / Service Provider with exactly 1 client.
5) Your business cannot be a nonprofit organization.
6) Your business has not received a Vermont Emergency Economic Recovery Grant from another State of Vermont Agency or Department.
Timeline for Grant Disbursement: August thru November 2020, as long as funds are available. All disbursed funds must be spent by grant recipients by December 30th, 2020.
Number of Grants to Be Distributed: Applications will be reviewed, and grants awarded on an ongoing basis until 1 million dollars has been fully distributed to Vermont microbusinesses.
Grant Amount: From a minimum of $2,500 to a maximum of $5,000.
PRE-PLANNING FOR THE APPLICATION PROCESS
The application is an online form. Plan on allotting up to one full, uninterrupted hour to complete it. If you do not complete it in one sitting, your work will not be saved and you will have to start over. You will be asked to provide a written narrative for some of the questions. Consider writing your answers before you sit down to complete the application. Your responses should be as clear and concise as possible.
1. Business Description:
You will be asked to describe your business, the products or services you provide, and your organizational structure (sole proprietor, LLC, partnership, etc.).
2. How Has COVID 19 Adversely Impacted Your Business:
The sole purpose of this grant is to help qualifying micro businesses to recover from the harm caused to them by COVID-19.
Some examples are:
- My business closed due to State requirements
- Loss of revenue due to stay home order
- Do not have an adequate online presence to replace lost business
- Not having proper PPE equipment
- Having to homeschool children or loss of childcare
- Not having a business model that aligns with safety precautions
- Loss of sales because customers don’t feel safe or are not spending
- Only being able to conduct business at limited capacity
- Not having a physical space that aligns with safety precautions
3. Funding Request:
You will need to provide a clear explanation as to how the use of this grant will help stabilize, strengthen, or revive your business. Consider how an infusion of $2,500 to $5,000 can help you recover from the setback caused by the pandemic: What investments were you going to make but didn’t due to the timing of COVID-19? What equipment, tools, or services would you purchase and what positive direct impact would they have on your business. You will need to be as specific as possible, so be sure to give this a lot of thought.
Although $5,000.00 is a substantial amount of money, it may not address all your business needs. Therefore, be strategic and careful as to how you prioritize your needs. Focus on what you need the most that will help move your business forward.
4. Providing a Photograph / Testimonial: EMBRACE Booklet
This funding opportunity has been provided by the State of Vermont through the federal CARES Act. The State of Vermont is the primary funder of the Micro Business Development Program (MBDP). Each year we have to advocate for the continuation of our program. We need to provide data that the distribution of these funds had a positive impact in our communities. We have decided that the best way to do that is to showcase your business and get testimonials so that your voice is heard. You will be a part of a collective group of over 200 MICRO businesses across the state!
The application process requires you to provide a photo of yourself. It is important to provide a picture that shows you engaged in your business. Start thinking about this now. You will need to upload a picture with the application.
At the end of the grant period, you will be contacted to provide a testimonial of how these funds have helped your business. It is important to participate in these two requests as this finished booklet will be distributed to our funders and community partners. It will be free advertising for you across the entire State of Vermont.
5. Direct Deposit:
In anticipation of distributing the grant awards using direct deposit to a bank account of your choice, you will be asked to enter the routing and account numbers associated with that account using a secure portal. Please confirm with your bank, the routing number, and your bank account number.
6. W- 9 Form:
You will be asked to submit a W-9 form. The link below is the form and instructions. Page 3 gives specific instructions for each question. This link is to help you prepare for the application; a w-9 forum will be included in the application process as part of the #2 secure application.
7. KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS:
It is important to keep your receipts of the purchases made with this grant. You will be sent a 1099 at the end of the year. The IRS requires you to report this as revenue, which you will offset on your business taxes (Schedule C) as business expenses.
Please be aware that federal or state funding authorities will randomly select 10% of the statewide grants for audit. This means you may be asked to show your receipts. YOUR RECEIPTS MUST EQUAL THE AMOUNT OF THE GRANT AWARD YOU RECEIVED. YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE ALL PURCHASES BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2020.
8. Follow Up:
It is extremely important that you participate in the surveys we need to send out at the end of this project. It is important for our program to collect this data. It helps us to serve you better.
How You Can Help Other Neighboring Businesses:
Our goal is to reach as many businesses as we can. If you know of other micro-businesses that are struggling due to COVID19, please send us an email with the business name and town in which they are located so we can contact the owner(s). Thank you in advance for taking the time to think about how to help yourself as well as your neighbor.
Core Micro Business Services:
- One-on-one business counseling and assistance in creating a business plan
- Business workshops
- Assistance in completing loan applications
- Marketing plan assistance
- Business resource referral
Micro Business program staff guide individuals in evaluating their business concept and their readiness to undertake self-employment. Throughout the process the program participant and the MDBP staff work together to overcome barriers to success such as lack of business operations skills or financing knowledge.
Who is eligible? Many low- to moderate-income individuals are eligible for Micro Business services. Please call Denise Mason for more information at 802-722-4575 ext. 150.