Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants

Progress Report 07/10/20: Since the grant application opened on Monday, May 4, Pinellas County has received 5,220 completed applications. The County has issued 2,931 checks totaling $14.655 million to eligible businesses with approved applications. Our team is reviewing each application and will issue grants to eligible businesses as quickly as possible.

The application period for Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants closed on June 30, 2020. All applications submitted before the deadline will be considered.

UPDATE: The Board of County Commissioners has approved additional funding to develop a new business assistance program. More details and the application launch date will be announced on this website in the coming weeks after the program is finalized. 

The upcoming program will help businesses that do not have a commercial location and others that did not qualify for the initial Small Business Grants, such as daycare providers, home-based businesses, professional artists and other business types most impacted by COVID-19.

The upcoming program will be opened to a wider range of small businesses with gross annual revenue between $17,000 and $3 million. Full qualifications and application information will be posted to this site.

Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant Program (Round 1) – APPLICATIONS CLOSED

Chalkboard with the words Temporarily Closed, Stay Safe written on it.

Pinellas County is providing emergency financial support through the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant for qualified small businesses that are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to orders to close or limit operations. This program provides one-time $5,000 grants to help offset the significant, temporary loss of revenue to these qualified businesses during this pandemic, and to assist businesses in retaining and paying employees.

The County has initially identified up to $35 million in emergency relief funds to support the small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically local businesses with a commercial location in the County. Funds are available as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal stimulus package.

Regardless of whether a business is eligible for this program, it may still qualify for other existing funding programs. Visit the Pinellas County Economic Development website for a list of federal and state programs assisting businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Program Overview

  • $5,000 for qualifying small businesses with a physical location in Pinellas County (1-25 full-time employees, or equivalent part-time employees, including the owner).
  • Restaurants, bars, short-term lodging and other non-essential businesses impacted by the local or state safer-at-home orders are eligible.
  • Larger businesses, non-profits and home-based businesses are not eligible.
  • Funds can only be used to reimburse the cost of business interruption caused by required closures provided those costs are not paid by insurance or by another federal program. Such costs may include employee wages, vendors, rent or other business expenses.
  • No reimbursement is required.

Eligible Businesses

Eligibility Checklist

Businesses are eligible for a one-time $5,000 grant from Pinellas County if:

  • Business suffered from business interruption caused by required closures resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Business suffered economic damages from business interruption caused by COVID-19 exceeding $5,000 since March 1, 2020, excluding those covered by insurance or reimbursement from any federal program.
  • Business employed 25 full-time equivalent employees or less (equivalent to 1,000 total average weekly hours for all employees) as of February 29, 2020.
  • Business is physically located within the boundaries of Pinellas County, Florida.
  • Business is not a home-based business and occupies commercial space.
  • Business has been operating since at least October 1, 2019.
  • Business can demonstrate ongoing business operations as of February 29, 2020.
  • Business is expected to be fully operational after local and state emergency guidelines are rolled back.
  • Business is not a publicly traded company.
  • Business does not have any current unpaid code enforcement liens and is not operating in violation of any state, federal or local laws.
  • No owner, officer, partner, or principal actor of the business has a felony conviction for financial mismanagement within the last two years for which he or she is still serving a sentence (including prison, parole, and probation).

Businesses that have already applied for or received funding from local city grant programs are still eligible for this program, and businesses that apply for this program may also apply for current or future local city grants. Owners with more than one eligible business may submit an application for each legal entity.

Ineligible Businesses

  • Businesses with more than 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees: Pinellas County has limited funding. Small businesses tend to be in a more precarious financial condition. The County intends to preserve and promote small local businesses as evidenced by the BCC’s implementation of the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program. 
  • Publicly traded companies:  These firms are owned by the stockholders, who may not be local residents and are not involved in the day to day operations of the company.
  • Home-based businesses: These businesses tend to have very few employees and do not pay the additional rent or utilities expenses of brick and mortar businesses. Some of these businesses have not been required to close under the Governor’s or the BCC’s orders and some could continue to operate within Center for Disease Control (CDC) social distancing guidelines or through online sales.
  • Non-profit organizations:  501(c)(3) organizations are by definition “charitable organizations” and receive funding primarily from private donors and governmental sources.  Other 501(c) organizations are involved in lobbying activities and/or are supported primarily by member dues, rather than by sales of products or services.
  • Businesses with unpaid code enforcement liens against them.
  • Businesses with an owner, officer, partner, or principal actor who has a felony conviction for financial mismanagement within the last two years for which he or she is still serving a sentence (including prison, parole, and probation).

What you’ll need to apply

Completed W-9 form for business. DBA, Tax ID Number (or Social Security Number for sole proprietor), and Mailing Address for Grant Check must match entries in General Information section.

Copy of “active” state business registration from Florida Division of Corporations

  • Search by “Entity Name” (use full legal business name), select listing with “Active” Status, and attach most recent filing as a screenshot; or
  • If not required to register with Florida Division of Corporations, attach documentation showing the business was operating prior to March 1, 2020 and meets all regulatory requirements from Pinellas County or the municipality in which the business is located

Business Financials

  • Individual (Sole Proprietors and individual/single-owner LLCs)
    • If no 2019 Schedule C is available, provide 2018 Schedule C (Form 1040) and most recent Annual or Quarterly Balance Sheet or Profit & Loss Statement.
  • Corporations (C-Corps, S-Corps, corporate Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs))
    • 2019 Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120 or 1120-S) OR
    • If no 2019 tax return is available, provide 2018 tax return and Annual or Quarterly Balance Sheet or Profit & Loss Statement
  • Partnerships
    • 2019 Return of Partnership Income (Form 1065) OR
    • If no 2019 tax return is available, provide 2018 tax return and Annual or Quarterly Balance Sheet or Profit & Loss Statement

W3 Summary, 1096 (from 2019) or IRS FORM 941 (from 1st quarter 2020 or, if not completed, 4th quarter 2019). Sole proprietors may complete and attach a certification stating that business owner is the sole proprietor with no additional employees or subcontracted workers.

Updated and Current Municipal Business Tax Receipt, if applicable. Note that many cities and the unincorporated area do not require a business license.

For Short-Term Lodging establishments and vacation rental management companies that collect and remit Tourist Development Tax, tourist development tax receipt or cancelled check for last monthly or quarterly payment made.

How to apply

  • Gather all necessary documents before starting the application. (See details below on this page and view the sample application.)
  • Register for an account through the Pinellas County Participant Portal. Registration requires email confirmation. Check your junk or spam filters if you don’t get the email within five minutes.
  • Once you’ve successfully registered, fill out every part of the application.
  • Make sure you’ve included all necessary documents before you submit your application – that will ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible.  
  • The application deadline closed on June 30, 2020.

Questions?

View Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants Frequently Asked Questions. 

Please read the FAQs. If you still have questions about the application or whether your business qualifies, you can contact us at businesshelp@pinellascounty.org or call (727) 453-7200 to receive a return phone call or email.

Questions will be answered in the order in which they are received.  Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic on our local community, the County anticipates a high volume of applications.

Our County Information Center, Commissioners’ Offices and other County contacts will share your query with staff at the above contacts to ensure you receive complete and accurate information.