Small Business Relief Grant Preliminary Metrics

The City of Austin has posted preliminary metrics taken from applications for the Small Business Relief Grant Program, which closes tomorrow, July 24 at 5PM. As of Tuesday evening, July 21, there were 1,333 applicants. 67% of these businesses have been partially operating during the pandemic, 22% have been completely closed, and 11% have been fully operational. The vast majority (784 applicants) are LLC’s, with 231 being sole proprietors and 237 operating under a different business structure. 1,105 applicants have received some other form of recovery funding, reporting an average of 6.9 employees with an average annual revenue of $974,000.

44% of businesses applying for funding have been in business for five years or under, 24% for six to ten years, 17% for ten to twenty years, 10% for over twenty years, and 4.35% for less than a year. 49% of executives applying are white, 18% are Asian, 14% are Hispanic/Latino, 7% are Black/African American, and 5% prefer not to answer. 700 executives are male and 606 are female. 440 applicants are between the ages of 30-39, 436 are between the ages of 40-49, 255 are between the ages of 50-59, 139 are over 60, 55 are between the ages of 20-29, and 8 prefer not to answer.

The top ten industries applying for the grant are, in order: Restaurants, Commercial Kitchens, Bars (268); Personal Care Services such as Barbers, Salons, Nail Salons, etc. (149); Arts, Entertainment, Recreation (145); Other Services (137); Retail (118); Health Care and Social  Assistance (112); Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (77); Educational Services (70); Information, Software, Telecommunications, Media, etc. (43) and Finance, Insurance, Real Estate Rental and Leasing (42).

You still have a little over 24 hours to apply for this grant. If you are unsure if your business qualifies, take a minute to go over the eligibility criteria and grant FAQ, which has been updated with a list of questions received from businesses (refresh your browser window!) This page also contains charts of the metrics mentioned above. If you still have questions after reviewing the grant information page, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Better Business Bureau, who is administering the grant. They can be reached at 512-318-2683 and You can also reach out to us at for assistance at .

Gather your documentation, take a deep breath, and good luck!

Grant Funding For Austin Businesses Is Here

Good news for small businesses suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19! On July 7th, applications opened for the City of Austin’s Small Business Relief Grant program, which provides assistance of up to $40,000 per qualifying business to be used for rent, payroll, and other approved expenses incurred between March 1 and July 7, 2020. $16.5 million in federal funding from the CARES Act has been set aside for this program.

To be eligible, businesses must be able to demonstrate an economic loss associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, have been in continuous operation for at least two years, have under $5 million in annual revenue, be located within a City Council District, provide one year of federal tax returns, and have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees (full time = 30+ hours/week, and two half-time employees would count as one full-time equivalent employee.) The grant is open to businesses operating under various business structures such as partnerships, sole proprietorships, LLCs, cooperatives, etc. Businesses who aren’t eligible include those engaged in multi-level marketing, lobbying, those who receive more than one third of their annual revenue from gambling, religious institutions, businesses debarred from contracting with the federal government, government entities, individuals, and nonprofits (there is a separate City grant for nonprofits, up to $20k.) Full-time City of Austin employees are not eligible for the Small Business Relief Grant.

Eligible expenses include rent, payroll, facility and business modifications for safety compliance, PPE, sanitation and cleaning, inventory, business insurance, technology, business adaptation and worker training, operational costs, and more. The grant does not cover lost sales or sponsorships, merchandise sold for marketing purposes, or costs that have been paid for by other COVID-19 grants or loans.

Applications will close at 5pm on July 24, and no priority is given to early applicants. Half of the applications will be evaluated according to a scoring matrix, and the other half will be distributed according to a lottery. For more information about the scoring matrix and detailed eligibility criteria, visit For complete resources on Covid-19 recovery, visit

AIBA and the Local Economies Council are working with the City and the Better Business Bureau, the administers of the application and selection process, to get information and assistance to local businesses in Austin. Please reach out to us at or 512-441-2123 with questions or if you need technical assistance in completing the application.

An Open Letter to Landlords From Local Business

Dear Landlord,

We’ve been in this mutually-beneficial relationship for a long time, perhaps decades. It’s been good for both of us. We’ve had a place to grow successful local businesses and you’ve made a nice profit.

Now our businesses have an illness called a pandemic. It makes people sick and is sometimes fatal. To help curb this, we have been forced to shut down for an extended period of time. Even now, as we might partially reopen on a curbside and delivery basis, we struggle with the health and safety of employees and customers in addition to all the concerns of a dwindling bank account, federal and local assistance being slow to none, and the unknown future. We’ve had to reinvent ourselves in 10 days just to garner what little bit of business we can. As many in our community look at the numbers of diagnosed illnesses and fatalities of our citizens, we are also looking at the local business fatalities that aren’t included on the daily charts.

We’re intrepid entrepreneurs. So we try to plan for the future. A future that we hope includes you as our landlord. But we need some consideration here. Let’s revisit that mutually beneficial relationship. Work with us. Give us a few months of free or deferred rent. It could be a lifeline to save our business.

For local landlords working with their local business tenants, thank you. This will come back to you in loyal tenants for years.

For those landlords reluctant to give consideration, assess the effects of helping a local business tenant go bankrupt. Finding a new tenant is costly in the best of times, now it’s going to be very expensive because there will be no business expansion for some time to come. We’re all in survival mode. Your space will likely remain vacant for a year or more. What is the cost of that compared to offering a little assistance now?

We recognize that landlords are in business too, some small, some large. You, too, can apply for SBA loans. You, too, can furlough your employees so they can receive unemployment. This is not business as usual. That won’t return for some time. It will return to normal but who knows when? That’s what we all want. But normal means a community filled with thriving local businesses with successful landlords.

We’ve heard from many fronts that we’re all in this together. It’s true. Together means we help each other. If your heart and soul can’t make this leap, look to your bank account. It makes financial sense to work with your current tenant. Reach out to your tenant today and you’ll have a successful relationship for years to come.

Most Sincerely,
Local Business



Upskill From the Comfort of Your Couch 

Upskill From the Comfort of Your Couch 

You are invited to join us at one of our upcoming design thinking workshops: May 20-22 (general audience) and July 22-24 (health and healthcare professionals).

Design thinking is an ideal framework for any professional who wants to create innovative solutions to challenging problems and to empower creativity and collaboration in your team.

Learn More + Save Your Spot

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are holding the May workshop online. We are confident that this will be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. The faculty are putting extensive effort in constructing this workshop for effective delivery online.

Registration is open, though spots are limited. If you would like to join us for the online workshop, please register by May 5.

City of Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan

City of Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan

The Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan Program provides loans up to $35,000 for daily needs like rent, payroll, and debt. Eligible local businesses must be able to demonstrate an economic loss associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic. The loan is intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business secures recovery resources. The Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan Program terms require payment of loan dollars up to 12 months at 3.75%.
This loan is not designed to be the primary source of assistance to affected businesses. To be eligible, you must be headquartered in a City of Austin Council district and have already applied for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan.