Many local business owners are still struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to assist them, Orange County has introduced the Small Business BOOST program, wherein approximately $26 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act has been allocated to provide grants to local small businesses, home-based businesses and gig workers that have experienced a 25 percent decline in revenue due to the pandemic.
Small businesses, home-based businesses and gig workers are eligible to receive up to $10,000, $3,000 and $1,400 respectively. The grant funds can be used for business expenses, including wages, mortgages, rent, utilities, payroll and other costs. Grants are non-repayable and are issued on a “first-come, first-served” basis to qualified applicants.
“These cash grants are intended to extend vital support to the small business community, which was severely impacted by COVID-19 “ said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “The pandemic may be over, but its effects are still being felt by many business owners, so we must remain diligent in our efforts to assist those who can benefit from these grants.”
The application portal – Orange County Small Business BOOST – was opened on July 18, 2023, and will remain open until funds are depleted. Applicants will be able to save their application and continue to work on it later until the application portal closes.
As far as eligibility is concerned, businesses receiving funds through the BOOST program may not receive more in grant funding than total revenue loss/negative economic impact after considering any other funding they have already received. This includes, but is not limited to, funding already received from the County through the CARES Act, Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and funding from the state or any municipalities.
Applications will be evaluated for completeness and eligibility compliance with the stated criteria. Applicants will be notified whether their application has been approved or denied. Once notification is received that the application has been approved, the applicant should receive physical checks for the full award within 45 days.
Program guidelines, educational events and application information, and a FAQ are currently available at Orange County Small Business BOOST. To watch the “How to Apply” Webinar, go to Orange County Small Business BOOST Webinar. If you have questions, email [email protected] or call 407-836-3111.