COVID-19 Resources for small businesses


Updated: January 13, 2021

For assistance, please register for a one-on-one counseling session with our small business counselor by scheduling an appointment.

NEW! Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses

The New Paycheck Protection Program will provide small businesses, independent contractors and eligible nonprofits who had a temporary reduction in revenue during the pandemic a business loan up to 3.5 times monthly payroll cost for restaurant and hospitality industries, an increase from 2.5 for other industries. This loan is forgivable if used primarily on payroll costs.  Businesses need to work with their bank to apply for this temporary emergency assistance. Businesses must apply by March 31, 2021.

Emergency Rental Assistance program is currently open until January 31, 2021. Property owners can apply for rental assistance on behalf of renters with consent at local community organizations that administer the program. Payments can be made directly to landlord or renter.

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan for small businesses and nonprofits will provide low interest and long-term repayment options to borrowers. The loan amount will depend on an economic injury calculation.

The new targeted Economic Injury Disaster Advance Grants will provide eligible small businesses that were impacted by economic loss from the pandemic with a grant of up to $10,000. Small businesses that did not receive the full amount previously may reapply. Businesses that apply for the EIDL may be eligible to receive a $10,000 grant advance.

Shuttered Venue Operator Grant provides grants to live venue operators, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theater operators, and talent representatives who demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in revenues.

Visit for more information on the Paycheck Protection Program and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. A full rollout is expected by February 2021.

Washington, DC Grant Opportunities

The Retail Bridge Fund provides competitive grants to eligible retail establishments that have experienced significant economic distress due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Local brick-and-mortar retail establishments, such as bookstores, clothing stores, salons, massage establishments, fitness studios, art galleries, and dry cleaners are eligible to apply. Application extended until January 15, 2021.

The Entertainment Bridge Fund Supporting Businesses Program will support general operating expenses and COVID-19 related supplies and preparation. Eligible businesses include walking tours, dance companies, event planners and more. Apply by January 22, 2021.

The Rhode Island Avenue Main Street Small Business Assistance Grants will provide eligible businesses with a storefront located in Ward 5 funds to assist with general operating expenses or technical assistance projects such as digital marketing and social media. Apply by January 22, 2021.

The Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) is excited to be accepting applications for the 2021 Robust Retail Citywide grant(s) support existing DC-based retail businesses maintaining operations and viability during the current small business crisis. Apply by January 28, 2021, 2pm EST.

DC Community Grants Program provides financial support to qualifying non-profit organizations dedicated to supporting children through sports, performing arts or cultural arts in the District of Columbia. Apply by March 2021.


National Grant Opportunities

Fearless Fund is disbursing 10 business grants to 10 women of color entrepreneurs in the amount of $10,000 each for COVID relief. Apply by January 24, 2021.

Southern Smoke Foundation’s Emergency Relief Program provides emergency funding to those employed by or own restaurants or bars facing unforeseen expenses that cannot or will not be covered by insurance.

IFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform, is giving microgrants to women-run businesses, issued on a rolling basis. Register with the site and click “start a campaign” to be considered for a relief grant. is providing $500 matching micro-grants to qualifying small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. If a small business raises $500 on their GoFundMe and meets eligibility criteria, they may be considered to receive a matching grant.

Nav’s Small Business Grant finalist will have a call with Nav’s team to share more about their business for either a $10,000 or $5,000 Small Business Grant. All finalists will receive a free year of Nav Business Manager, valued at $360. Opens January 2021.

Hello Alice Grant & Mentorship will provide a $10,000 business grant and a private half-day virtual session with an expert mentor to grow your business.

SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant will provide several $10K and $5K cash grants to Black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs.

Amber Grant is distributing $10,000 every month and a year-end grant of $25,000. Applications due at the end of every month.

Sweet Relief Musician’s Fund will provide immediate assistance for musicians and music industry workers affected by the Coronavirus.

Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition will award grant funding to seed or early-stage ventures with at least one Black and/or Latinx founder/co-founder that is an HBCU undergraduate, graduate student, or a former student. Black Ambition will award up to $50K in grants for a Business Concept idea (ventures that have yet to generate revenue or raise dilutive funding) and up to $250K in grants for an Early Business idea, which has raised less than $1M in dilutive funding and has a minimum viable product. Apply by February 18, 2021.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grants is a temporary fund intended to meet the needs of experimental artists who have been impacted by the national pandemic. Apply by March 15, 2021.

KKR Small Business Builders (SBB) grants are designed to help business owners sustain, maintain or create jobs, and spur economic opportunity as they respond to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and recover from its resultant economic dislocation.


Local Loan & Microloan Opportunities

ECDC Enterprise Development Group offers hope to refugees, immigrants and low-income individuals by providing them access to necessary financing and support tools to start or expand their own small businesses in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Washington Area Community Reinvestment Fund  (WACIF) assists entrepreneurs starting and building businesses in the greater D.C., metro area. WACIF offers small business and micro loans between $5000-$150,000.

Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) provides alternative micro loan options to start-ups and existing businesses that have difficulty obtaining credit from mainstream financial institutions, offering loans ranging from $500 to $250,000 to qualified start-ups and existing businesses in the DMV metro area.

Life Asset provides small loans to entrepreneurs who want to start or expand a business but are having difficulties getting loans from traditional banks, credit unions and other non-profit lenders


Financing Resource Roundtable Panel Coffee Chat

Financing Resource Roundtable Panel Coffee Chat was held on December 3, 2020 and sponsored by the DC Women's Business Center in collaboration with DC SoGal, IFundWomen, WACIF, LEDC, and DMPED. If you would like to listen to the roundtable presentations, we have attached a recording of the session here. You can find their contact information in the pdf of the slides here.


District of Columbia Small Business Resources

#DCHOPE Small Business Startup Supplies

Mayor Bowser announced the DC Government, through the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), will assist businesses by making available #DCHOPE Small Business Startup Supplies to Business Improvement Districts (BID) and Main Streets for distribution to DC small businesses. These PPE Care Packages will include protective masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant liquid.

To manage distribution, the city has been divided into distribution zones.

To view your distribution zone you can enter your address into this map

District of Columbia Mental Health Hotline

If you are experiencing stress or anxiety related to coronavirus (COVID-19), the District's Mental Health Hotline - 888-793-4357. Clinicians are available 24/7.


Legal Assistance

Pro-Bono DC Bar The D.C Pro-Bono Center transforms lives by providing free legal assistance to individuals, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses through volunteer lawyers.

Start Small/Think Big Rapid, Legal Assistance Start Small/Think Big provides free small business legal assistance to qualified entrepreneurs and small business owners. The Rapid Response Program provides a pathway for small business owners to receive rapid legal assistance.

Legal Essentials for Doing Business On-Line webinar sponsored by the DC Women's Business Center in collaboration with StartSmall/ThinkBig was held on December 8, 2020. You can find their contact information in the pdf of the slides here.


Digital Marketing

Prior to COVID-19 many small businesses made the strategic decision not only to start their businesses online, but use digital marketing to fuel business growth. Now, understanding the best practices for digital marketing and e-commerce is critical for small business survival.

Don't miss our upcoming How To Start A Successful Online Store During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Digital Marketing webinars. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on our events, here.


Additional Resources

CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19

The Resuming Business Toolkit is designed to prevent and reduce transmission and maintain healthy business operations and work environments.

Resources References in the Resuming Business Toolkit:



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