Frequently Asked Questions


Who is providing the funds for these grants? 

  • The City of San José has set aside $2.75 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to provide up to 300 grants to small businesses, companies, or enterprises (used interchangeably) located in San José. The maximum grant is $15,000. The purpose is to provide a grant towards the small business owner’s outstanding rent and utility debt arising from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from March 24, 2020, through August 19, 2021.

Who is managing the grant program?

  • The Enterprise Foundation via Access Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will administer and manage all aspects of the grant program on behalf of the City of San José.  

What are the eligibility criteria?

  • Please read through the entire eligibility requirements before applying through the link below. A business owner can only make one application.
  • Business must possess a current Business Tax Certificate (aka Business License or a Business Permit) through the City of San Jose
  • Business must be for-profit and physically located in a commercial building within San José. 
  • Business must have 10 or fewer full-time employees including the business owner (Businesses may include part-time employees in its full-time equivalent count, 2 half-time employees = 1 full-time employee). Sole-proprietors and single-person companies are eligible. A full-time worker is employed for a minimum of 40 hours a week. 
  • Businesses must be active and working to continue. 
    Businesses in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings may apply for the grant.
  • Business must have been in business prior to March 24, 2020. 

Business owner must own at least 51% of the business.   (More than one business owner may apply to meet the 51% requirement but they must apply under the same application.)

  • Businesses must provide either the 2020 or the 2021 IRS tax return confirming annual gross receipts were below $3 million.
  • Please note that priority will be given to small businesses with 10 or fewer employees that have not received federal or State of California pandemic loans or grants to date. 

How many grants will be awarded?

  • Based on the estimated level of disbursement grants, approximately 300 small businesses with a physical location in San José would benefit from the new grant program. The grants are designed to meet the deadlines imposed by the County of Santa Clara’s commercial rent eviction moratorium.

How do I apply??

  • This is a two-step application process. Step 1 is to complete the prescreening questionnaire. Your answers will determine if you are eligible to apply. 
  • Step 2 If you are eligible to apply you must now complete in full the application form.
  • You can either apply online here or complete a paper application by making an appointment at the Enterprise Foundation offices. All documentation must be supplied with your application. No exceptions will be made.
  • The Enterprise Foundation will decide on the validity of your application. Please note there is no right of appeal by the applicant.
  • The City of San Jose will not submit or support an application on behalf of a business.

What documents do I need to submit to apply? 

  • Valid government-issued photo ID – Copy or Picture of a valid CA ID or Driver’s License (JPG format color copy).
  • Copy of a current Business Tax Certificate (aka Business License or a Business Permit) through the City of San Jose.
  • Rental lease or past rent payment documentation
  • Most current documentation showing the number of employees and their hours worked per week. A form is available from the SBDC if you don’t have other payroll documentation.
  • Entire 2020 or 2021 tax return in pdf format

When are the applications due? 

  • The application period is from Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at 1:00 pm (Pacific Daylight Time) and ending at 5:00 pm on Monday, May 30, 2022 (Pacific Daylight Time). 
  • As long as your application and all required documents are received during this time, it will be considered equally among all the others. Although the initial selection will begin on May 31, 2022, the application period may be extended.
  • Apply online at www.accessSBDC.org

What languages are the applications available in? 

  • The online application is in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese and is available on the website.

Why have the dates March 20, 2020, to August 19, 2021, been set as eligible for rent debt?

  • March 20, 2020, through to August 19, 2021, was the time period set by the pandemic Santa Clara County Commercial Rent Eviction Moratorium ordinance was in operation.

What businesses are NOT eligible to apply? 

  • Home-based businesses are ineligible.
  • Business owners who both own the commercial property and lease it to the business they own.
  • Recipients of the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Shuttered Venue Operators grant are ineligible to apply.
  • Businesses defined as franchises, chains, or restricted to patrons above the age of 18 will not be eligible for a grant. 
  • Nonprofit organizations are not eligible.
  • Religious, political, or lobbying organizations are not eligible. 
  • Businesses engaged in any activity that is illegal under the federal, state or local law.

What if I received a PPP, EIDL Loan, CA Relief Grant or San José CDBG Microenterprise Grant?

  • Businesses that have applied for or received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, an SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan (EIDL), the California Relief grant program, Micro Business grant program or the San José CDBG Microenterprise Grant may apply for this grant.  However, awardees must agree not to use Rent Relief grants to pay for rent that has been or will be paid for using PPP, EIDL, CA Relief Grant, San José CDBG Microenterprise Grant, or other Covid 19 relief funds.
  • Priority will be given to small businesses with 10 or fewer employees that have not received federal or State of California pandemic loans or grants to date. 

What is the amount of the grant? 

  • Grants cannot be used to pay for amounts due after August 19, 2021.  The maximum grant cannot exceed $15,000.  Grants will be allocated based on annual gross revenue as follows:
Annual Gross ReceiptsGrant Amount
Up to $1 Million$5,000
Up to $2 Million$10,000
Up to $3 Million$15,000

What can the grant be used for? 

Grants must be used exclusively to cover small business owners’ outstanding rent and utility debt arising from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from March 24, 2020, through August 19, 2021.

What if my rent requirements are less than the total grant amount awarded ($5000, $10,000 or $15,000)?

  • The entire grant can only be used for outstanding rent and utility debt arising from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from March 24, 2020 through August 19, 2021 
  • If the total rent amount is less than the awarded grant amount, the remaining amount can be applied to utility debt incurred during the covered period of March 24, 2020, through August 19, 2021.

If I am awarded a grant, will I be taxed on the grant amount? 

  • Check with your accountant to determine tax liability.

Will any of the grant money have to be repaid? 

  • No. Grant awards are not repaid as long as the grant funds are used for eligible purposes. 

 Will I be contacted if I am missing information on my initial application? 

  • No. Incomplete applications will be declined. Please contact SBDC at info@accessSBDC.org or (408) 385-9800 during the open application time period if you need assistance in completing your application.

Are there other documents I will be required to submit? 

  • Yes. If applicants are eligible and the initial application is complete, applicants may receive an email or other outreach requesting additional business and landlord documents.

What happens after I submit my application? 

  • Applications will be reviewed for initial eligibility starting on May 31st, 2022. If you are not eligible, you will be notified by mid-August 2022. 
  • Applicants passing initial eligibility review will be randomly assigned a place on a list and their applications processed in that order.  If identified as initially eligible you will be notified by early to mid-July 2022.
  • In the order of the list, each application will receive a more detailed review and, if found eligible, applicants may receive a follow-up email or other communication requesting any necessary documents to validate that your business meets federal and local requirements.  If the applicant does not provide the documents in the time allowed, the applicant will be removed from the finalist list and will not be awarded a grant.
  • The SBDC will contact the landlord for each validated finalist in order of the list.
  • Landlord must agree to use the money to cover the applicants’ rent and provide a W-9.
  • Once all of these arrangements have been finalized, payments will be made directly to the landlord.
  • Any applicants who do not pass all of the eligibility requirements, do not submit required documents within the time allowed, or whose landlords’ fail to respond on a timely basis will not receive a grant.  All decisions are final.

How can I tell where my application is in the process?

  • Applications will be reviewed for initial eligibility starting on May 31st.
  • As the applications are reviewed, each chosen applicant may be asked to provide supplemental documents. If the applicant does not provide the documents in the time allowed, the applicant will be removed from the finalist list and will not be awarded a grant.
  • A supplemental form will be provided by SBDC for the applicant to complete, to document from the grantee’s landlord that the SBDC is authorized to pay rent on behalf of the grantee.
  • If you are eligible and all of your documents are validated, the SBDC will contact your landlord and upon successful receipt of a W-9 from your landlord your rent up to $15,000 will be paid by a grant.

If selected for an award, what happens next? 

  • You will need to demonstrate your commitment to the recovery of your business and the validity of your application by registering for free business advising services through the SBDC and participating in an approval meeting with SBDC staff.  At this meeting an SBDC advisor may explore business assistance services that might be of value to your business and will address any remaining inquiries.
  • The SBDC in partnership with the City of San José, offers free services to help you sustain your business through workshops, one-on-one advising, and can help you apply for federal and/or other funding sources.
  • Grantees will be expected to complete a follow-up survey in 3 months regarding customer satisfaction.
  • We will pay your landlord for your rent $5,000, $10,000 up to $15,000 depending on your annual gross receipts. 

What if I have questions about the grant? 

  • Please review our website at accessSBDC.org and the FAQs. 
  • Email SBDC at info@accessSBDC.org or call (408) 385-9800.

Applicants are encouraged to begin the process early since responses from SBDC staff may be delayed due to high demand.