Pinellas CARES Local Business Grants

Important Note: Applicants are strongly encouraged to take their time to submit a complete and accurate application, including all required documentation, for the quickest response.

Grant awards will be based on review of complete and eligible applications and not on how early a partial application is submitted. Submitting an incomplete application will delay the review process.

NEW – Pinellas CARES Local Business Grants (begin application here): Pinellas CARES has helped more than 3,200 businesses with emergency grants since May, and more help is now available.  

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners has approved expanded grant funding for Pinellas-based businesses most affected by the pandemic: in general, this includes businesses that were required to shut down or whose customers were required to shut down or stop doing business. A list of eligible business types can be found HERE

The new program will assist businesses that have suffered economic damages from business interruption caused by COVID-19 since March 1, 2020, that were not covered by insurance or reimbursement from any federal program.

Businesses that make $3 million or less in gross annual revenue may qualify for up to $10,000 in grant assistance based on a sliding scale.

How to Apply

Qualifying business owners can use this online application to be considered for one of the following grants:

  • Sliding Scale Grants of $2,500 to $10,000 are available for businesses making between $17,000 and $3 million in gross annual revenue.
  • Health & Safety Matching Grants of up to $10,000 to assist Target Industry Businesses in implementing COVID-19-related upgrades and safety precautions. Note: Gross annual revenue limits do not apply to these grants.
  • Business Diversity and Arts Microgrants help impacted business owners with barriers to participation in other grant programs to strengthen their business through direct financial assistance and professional services, including help with post-COVID business planning, record-keeping and preparing documents needed to apply for grant funding.

Larger businesses and nonprofit organizations are not eligible for Pinellas CARES Local Business Grants.

CARES Funds can only be used to reimburse losses caused by COVID-19 that are not paid by insurance or by another federal grant or program. These costs may include employee wages, vendors, rent or other business expenses.

Applicants who received grant awards in the first round of the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants will have the initial $5,000 grant deducted from this second grant, if they qualify. This second round of business funding will generally only benefit prior awardees if the business’s 2019 revenues (as documented within 2019 Business Tax Return) were greater than $250,000.

Businesses that have already applied for or received funding from local city or county grant programs are still eligible for this program. Businesses that apply for this program may also apply for current or future local city grants, provided the awards cover separate costs.

Pinellas CARES Local Business Grants

Min. Gross Receipts or SalesMax. Gross Receipts or SalesSliding Scale Grant AmountMicrogrant Amount

Businesses that received a Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant (May 4 -June 30, 2020) may apply for this next round of funding and are eligible for additional incremental award for the difference if they qualify for more than $5,000.

Applicants will need to complete a new application at the portal and re-upload the required documentation regardless of whether their initial application was approved or denied in the first round of Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants.

Prior applicants may use the same user name and password to begin a new application for this round of business funding.

Which businesses qualify to apply?

Businesses must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for assistance.

  • Principal business address is physically located in Pinellas County
  • Operating since at least Oct. 1, 2019
  • In operation as of Feb. 29, 2020
  • Not a publicly traded company
  • Not a nonprofit 501(c) organization
  • Expected to be fully operational after local/state emergency guidelines are rolled back
  • No unpaid code enforcement or other liens or court fees
  • 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) 
  • Is not operating in violation of any state, federal or local laws.
  • Suffered economic damages from business interruption caused by COVID-19 since March 1, 2020, excluding those covered by insurance or reimbursement from any federal program

Need Help?

For answers to frequently asked questions and more tips for a successful application, see the Pinellas CARES Business FAQs and review the CARES Local Business Grant Financial Documentation.

For detailed program information, you can also review the Pinellas CARES Local Business Grant Program Policy.

Application Assistance

For questions about the program or how to apply:

The previous application period for the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants was open from May 4 – June 30, 2020.  This program is now closed

The first Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant Program, from May 4 – June 30, 2020, focused on assisting small businesses with a physical location and fewer than 25 employees that suffered economic damages caused by required closures due to “Safer at Home” orders enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19.

From May 4 – Sept. 2, 2020:

  • 5,223 completed applications were received
  • 3,249 checks were issued
  • $16.245 million was received by eligible businesses with approved applications

Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant Recipients
(05/04/20 – 07/01/20)

The map below represents checks disbursed to Pinellas County businesses from the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant from 05/04/20 – 07/01/20. During this time:

  • 2,585 Checks were issues
  • $12.925 million was received by eligible businesses with approved applications