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Small Business Grant Program

Orange CARES for Business

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Orange County’s CARES Act Funding for Small Businesses will invest $72.9 million into Orange County small businesses. The distribution of funds is through two programs: (1) the Small Business Grant Program; and (2) the Micro-Grant Program for Home-Based Businesses.

Available funding is limited and assistance for both programs is “first-come, first-serve.” Both grant programs are strictly limited to businesses located physically within Orange County. Funds can only be used to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic provided those costs are not paid by insurance or by the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP). Financial assistance provided pursuant to either program shall be provided at the County’s discretion. When reviewing applications for financial assistance, the County will use its discretion to determine whether providing such assistance to a business would violate the spirit or intent of the provided program criteria or any related funding limitations.


Both the Small Business Grant Program and the Micro-Grant Program for Home-Based Businesses reached its allotted funding capacity. The application portal is closed.

Application Process

Step 1: Check for Eligibility

Review the available programs to identify if you meet the criteria for the program you prefer. Then, review the other eligibility criteria listed below, as well as the required documents, and the frequently asked questions.

Other Eligibility Criteria

Businesses, regardless of classification, must meet the following criteria in addition to the program-specific criteria in order to be considered for either of the CARES Act for Small Businesses grant programs. Businesses must be:

  • Physically located and operated within the boundaries of Orange County, Florida
  • For-profit business
  • NOT a publicly traded company
  • Experienced a business interruption or closures due to COVID-19
  • Have not received funds covered by insurance or reimbursement from the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP) in excess of $100,000 related to COVID-19
  • Prove ongoing business operations as of February 29, 2020
  • Expected to operate after applicable local and state emergency guidelines are removed
  • Commit to following all recommended COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
    1. Practice social distancing
    2. Stay home when feeling sick
    3. Wear protective face covering
    4. Conduct health screenings
    5. Sanitize and wash hands frequently
    6. High-risk individuals should shelter and work from home, when possible.
    7. Temperature checks for all staff. If there's a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, they must go home.
  • No current unpaid code enforcement liens or violation of any state, federal, or local laws
  • No owner, officer, partner or principal actor of the business involved with financial mismanagement. This includes: "Business Owner(s) with any conviction(s) for financial crimes within the last 3 years, with Business Owner(s) defined as: Managing Members and/or Officers."

Additional Funding Limitations

The County has determined that limiting the number of grants that businesses with multiple locations or shared owners can receive is the most equitable method of ensuring that the highest number and broadest variety of businesses and business owners are provided access to the limited financial relief resources provided through the Grant Program. As such, the following limitations on receipt of funding are in place:

  • Businesses with the same tax ID numbers are limited to receiving only 1 grant.
  • Businesses that share both entity names and owner(s), regardless of whether or not such businesses have separate tax ID numbers, are limited to receiving only 1 grant.
  • Businesses that share owner(s) but have different entity names and tax ID numbers, may receive separate grants for up to 2 such businesses, each of which must be kept separate and apart from one another and used solely to benefit the business to which the grant was issued.

For the purposes of these Additional Funding Limitations, the “owner(s)” of a business shall be determined by review of the business’s tax returns (if filed) and the documents filed with the Florida Department of Corporations. Ownership shall be determined as it was as of February 29, 2020. By submitting an application for the Grant Program, and applicant is certifying that such application is in compliance with these Additional Funding Limitations.

Required Documents

Business owners will need the following documents before they fill out the application:

  • Current W-9 Form
  • Active state business registration, license or other documentation
  • Business financials, including 2019 Tax Return or equivalent
  • Staffing documentation, including W-3 Summary, IRS Form 1096, IRS Form 941; or sole proprietor statement (for sole proprietors only in English or in Spanish).
  • Municipal business tax receipt
  • If the business received Federal PPP funding, provide proof such as a confirmation from your lending institution, or a copy of your PPP executed note.

Depending on the small business’ legal structure, business owners will be required to provide:

Individual (Sole Proprietors and individual/single-owner LLCs): may submit their 2019 Schedule C (Form 104). If no 2019 Schedule C is available, provide 2018 Schedule C, AND most recent Annual or Quarterly Balance Sheet or Profit and Loss Statement.

Corporations (C-Corps, S-Corps, corporate Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs)): may submit their 2019 Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120/Form 1120-S). If no 2019 Corporation Income Tax Return is available, provide 2018 Corporation Income Tax Return, AND Annual or Quarterly Balance Sheet or Profit and Loss Statement

Partnerships: may submit their 2019 Return of Partnership Income (Form 1065). If no 2019 Return of Partnership Income is available, provide 2018 Tax Return, AND Annual or Quarterly Balance Sheet or Profit and Loss Statement.

Staffing Documents

Business owners will be required to provide their W-3 Summary, Form 1096 from 2019 OR Form 941 from the first quarter of 2020, or the fourth quarter of 2019. For corporations without employees, you may submit a Corporation Statement (PDF).

Sole Proprietors

Sole proprietors may complete and attach a Sole Proprietor Certification Statement in English or in Spanish stating that the business owner is the sole proprietor with no additional employees or subcontracted workers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I apply for these small business grant programs?
A: Orange County small businesses can apply to these programs by filling out an online application. If you are unable to access the Internet or have a language barrier, please call 3-1-1.

Q: When did the application process begin?
A: The application process began on June 8, 2020 and closed temporarily on July 31, 2020. The program reopened on August 10, 2020.

Q: When does the application process end?
A: Orange County Government will evaluate the application process periodically to determine whether it will temporarily close and reopen.

Q: What documents do I need in order to apply?
A: Please review the Required Documents section above.

Q: Where can I find my active state business registration?
A: Business owners can find the most recent filing for their active state business registration from the Florida Division of Corporations by searching the full, legal business name.

If your business is not required to register with the Florida Division of Corporations, other documents may include certification from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, certification from the Department of Health, and a business tax receipt from applicable jurisdiction.

Q: What financial documents do I need in order to apply?
A: Please review the Required Documents section above.

Q: What are the eligibility criteria?
A: Please review the eligibility criteria for either program as well as the Other Eligibility Criteria section above.

Q: Are independent contractors eligible to receive grant funds?
A: No. An independent contractor is typically a person who provides services under a written agreement. They will not have any of the required documentation needed to apply. Therefore, only businesses legally organized and located in Orange County are eligible to receive grant funds.

Q: Which types of businesses will be prioritized?
A: Applications for the Orange County Small Business Program are first-come, first-served until the funds are depleted.

Q: Is there a stipulation on how I can spend the grant funds?
A: Funds will cover normal business expenses, such as employee wages, vendor bills and rent to help offset the significant temporary loss of revenue to qualified small businesses.

Q: Am I able to save and come back to my application?
A: Yes.

Q: May I edit my documents after I submit my application?
A: No. Documents cannot be edited after the application has been submitted.

Q: What if my application is incomplete?
A: Applications will be automatically rejected if documents are missing, falsified or illegible.

Q: How many businesses will Orange County assist?
A: Orange County will provide grants to approximately 6,500 small businesses.

Q: Do I have to pay the money back?
A: No. Small businesses will not have to pay back the grant.

Q: Where is this money coming from?
A: The funds for the Orange County Small Business Grant Program are part of the County’s Federal CARES Act funding.

Q: How much money will I receive?
A: Small businesses approved for the Small Business Grant Program will receive a one-time payment of $10,000. Small businesses approved for the Micro-Grant Program for Home-based Businesses will receive up to $3,000, based on 2019 business revenue.

Q: What is the approval process?
A: A review committee will evaluate the applicant’s documents for eligibility to make sure it is complete. Applicants will be notified by email as to whether their application has been approved or denied.

Q: Who makes up the Review Committee?
A:  The review committee is comprised of staff members from economic development partners.

Q: Who will provide the funds if my business is approved?
A: The Orange County Comptroller’s Office will coordinate and execute all grant distribution and receipt activities with the applicant business.

Q: How will I know my application has been successfully submitted?
A: After you submit your application, you will see a confirmation screen and will receive a confirmation email with a unique number.  We recommend you make a copy of the confirmation screen for your records.

Q: What if I don’t receive or delete my confirmation information?
A:  Please check your spam and junk-mail folders in your email. If you still cannot locate your confirmation information, please call 3-1-1.

Q: Who can I contact if I have any questions?
A: Residents can call 3-1-1 for more information regarding these grant programs.

Q: Am I eligible to apply if I live in another County, but my business is located in Orange County?
Yes, if the business has a physical address in Orange County.

Q: How do I know if my business is a publicly traded company?
A: Businesses can visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s filing and forms web page.

Step 2: Complete the Application

Complete the online application form. Applicants are required to affirm and upload relevant business documents to be considered for these grant programs.

Application Status Codes

Status Code Description
Application in Progress Applicant has yet to submit their application, will not be reviewed until submission
Application Submitted Applicant has submitted their complete application and it will be reviewed by the County
Assigned to Organization Applications are being distributed to reviewing organizations for initial review
Assigned to Reviewer Applications are currently under evaluation by a community, third-party reviewer
Approved for Second Review Applications have all required components and are sent for a second review
Task For Applicant The Applicant is missing a small portion of the application and is given a chance to correct and/or upload the required information. There is a deadline for these tasks to ensure all applicants have a fair review timeframe, so please remedy the task assignment ASAP for continued review of an application
Denied by 1st Reviewer Applications are missing several required portions of information for consideration, but the application will have one final review to ensure no errors on the initial reviewer’s part took place
Pending Payment Approval Applications have moved on in the process for final review by the Orange County Comptroller, a separate entity from OC Government, who will commit the final review, cross-checking with IRS for any information mismatches
Denied by County Applications were reviewed twice, with several portions of information missing and/or the applicant did not complete tasks to upload missing details by the deadline
Reported to Comptroller Applications approved by the County have been officially reported to the Comptroller for final consideration and check disbursement
Hold-Duplicate Application could be an exact duplicate or applicant could own multiple businesses
IRS Discrepancy Information in application or W-9 does not match IRS information
Paid Applications the Comptroller has approved grants for and has disbursed a check mailed to the address provided in B.7 of the application

Step 3: Application Review

A review committee will evaluate the applicant’s documents for eligibility. Applications will be automatically rejected if documents are missing, falsified or illegible.

Step 4: Notice to Applicant

Applicants will receive an email notifying them as to whether their online application has been accepted or denied.

Step 5: Processing and Distribution

Accepted applications will be processed for grant distribution. The Orange County Comptroller will coordinate and execute all grant distribution activities with the applicant business.

Contact Us

General Questions
Dial 407-836-3111