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Business Relief and Support

Economic Assistance for San Diego Businesses Affected by COVID-19

Quick Reference Links

City of San Diego Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund

CoSD Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund

Continuing his efforts to support small businesses and get San Diegans back to work, Mayor Todd Gloria launched a grant program on Aug. 11, 2021, with The San Diego Foundation to provide $12 million to support small businesses and nonprofits hardest hit by the pandemic. (Read the full press release)

The program, which won unanimous approval of City Council, will be administered by The San Diego Foundation, which contributed $2 million to increase the total program funding to $12 million.

Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 for small businesses, with other amounts available for nonprofits.

The deadline to apply is Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, at 5 p.m. 

Please note the grant program is not first-come, first-served. Decisions on awardees will not be made until the application window closes on Sept. 24. Accuracy of the application is more important than getting it in early in the window. Submit only one application. Applications will not be reviewed until after the window closes. Awards will be announced shortly thereafter.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Self-employed workers, independent contractors, sole proprietors and corporations with no more than 100 employees
  • Have net profit less than $150,000 or gross revenue less than $250,000
  • Show proof of legitimacy that states that the business is located in or operating in the City of San Diego
  • Have been in operation before April 1, 2020
  • Have demonstrated decline in revenue or service demand due to COVID-19

Applicants must also include their 2019 and 2020 Federal Tax Returns and a current City of San Diego Business Tax Certificate or other proof the business is located in or operating in the City of San Diego, such as a California State professional license or a sales tax certificate. 

Application assistance is available at no cost from the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and other partners. Additionally there are how-to-apply recordings and a link to request a no-cost, one-on-one appointment for help applying.

For full program guidelines, eligibility requirements, how-to-apply recordings, and other application resources, please visit the program webpage

City of San Diego Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund Webpage

“We thoughtfully crafted this program to effectively distribute millions of dollars as a lifeline for local businesses and nonprofits,” Mayor Gloria said. “With The San Diego Foundation’s partnership, we’re able to provide $12 million of aid as they navigate how to recover from the pandemic. For many of our family-owned businesses and community-based organizations, these grants are a much-needed opportunity to get back on track and rebuild their livelihoods.”

To help business owners navigate through the chaos COVID-19 is having on our communities, businesses are advised to reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide. SBDC can help businesses with applying for relief, guiding your business through available resources and assisting with cash flow concerns, supply-chain interruptions, workforce capacity, insurance coverage and more—all at no cost.

Register for free SDBC one-on-one business counseling.

Additionally, please consider the following city, federal, state and regional resources listed below.

We will continue to update resources as they become available.


Other City of San Diego Support

City of San Diego Small Business Relief Fund (2020)

  • CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund provides economic assistance to City of San Diego or City of Chula Vista businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans, which range from $25,000-$95,000, are intended to help entrepreneurs adapt their business models to operating under pandemic restrictions, to promote economic resiliency, and to support the retention or creation of jobs. Learn more.

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U.S. Federal Support

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries. 

The Federal Reserve created the Main Street Lending Program to offer up to $2.3 trillion in 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion. Principal and interest payments will be deferred for one year. Learn more.

Internal Revenue Services (IRS) is offering Federal Income Tax Extensions.

  • New Online Tools for Tax Preparers:  The US Internal Revenue Service launched a new online option to support tax professionals to remotely obtain signatures from individual and business clients and submit authorization forms electronically.  According to the announcement, tax professionals must have a Secure Access account, including a current username and password, or create an account in advance of submitting an online authorization form. Coping with COVID-19

  • Employee Retention Credit:  The Internal Revenue Service released a reminder to employers that they can take advantage of the newly-extended Employee Retention Credit. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted Dec. 27, 2020, made a number of changes to the credits previously authorized under the CARES Act, including modifying and extending the Employee Retention Credit.  Several of the changes apply only to 2021, while others apply to both 2020 and 2021.  The maximum ERC amount available is $7,000 per employee per calendar quarter, for a total of $14,000 in 2021.  Small employers may request advance payment.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers interim guidance for businesses and employers to plan, prepare and respond to coronavirus. State, local, and federal agencies are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Check out coronavirus.gov for updates from the White House's COVID-19 Task Force. Go to cdc.gov for detailed information about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Visit covid-sb.org, the official federal resource website for U.S. small businesses affected by COVID-19. Learn more about the federal government's response.

Department of Labor OSHA has guidance on PDF icon Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.

Small Business Administration (SBA) | 800-659-2955 | The SBA is administering the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act programs to offer new programs and supplement the relief already provided by the 2020 CARES Act, which offers business assistance to impacted businesses and provides guidance for employers to plan and respond to COVID-19. For questions on any of the programs offered by SBA, you can contact the SBA San Diego District Office at 619-557-7250.

  • Removing Prohibition on Faith-Based Organizations Serving as a SBA Financial Intermediary: The US Small Business Administration released a proposed rule for public comment.  The new rule would remove regulatory provisions that exclude certain faith-based organizations from seven business loan and disaster assistance programs, including Intermediary Lending Program, Business Loan programs (7(a), Microloan and 504; Economic Injury Disaster Loan program), Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, and Immediate Disaster Assistance Program.  Comments are due February 18, 2021.
  • NOW OPEN! Restaurant Revitalization Fund Registration begins April 30, 2021 (6 a.m. PDT) andSBA_Restaurant_Revitalization_graphic applications open May 3, 2021 (9 a.m. PDT) for this fund, established under the PDF icon American Rescue Plan, that provides $28.6 billion in direct relief funds to restaurants and other hard-hit food establishments that have experienced economic distress and significant operational losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Funds must be used for allowable expenses by March 11, 2023. The online application will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted. Watch the webinar

  • NOW OPEN! Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Portal As authorized by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act, the SBA launched this program that makes $16.2 billion in grants to eligible venues shuttered by COVID-19.Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program Eligible venues may receive up to 45% of their gross earned revenue, up to a $10 million. Beginning April 8, 2021, operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theatres, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives, can apply for critical economic relief, as those eligible entities are some of the first that had to shutter their doors a year ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, $2 billion of the grants are reserved for businesses with 50 or fewer employees. The new 2021 American Rescue Plan Act has allocated additional funds to SVOG, which now allows businesses to apply for both a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, and the SVOG. Watch the webinar  ** Looking to apply for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant? You will need to be registered in the U.S. Government’s System for Award Management, SAM.gov.

  • NEW! Community Navigator: The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act puts $100 million toward establishing this pilot program. Grants will go to eligible organizations that support efforts to improve access to COVID-19 pandemic assistance programs and resources.

  • CARES Act (Coronavirus Air, Relief and Economic Security Act) addresses the economic impact of COVID-19 and dedicates $350 billion towards small businesses. This federal stimulus act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, enhances the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PDF icon Learn more

    • An on-demand webinar from the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center (SBDC) details the EIDL and PPP, offering guidance on how to comply your EIDL application. Signup to watch the 30-minute webinar

    • Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program offers $7 billion in low-interest loans to businesses, renters and homeowners located in regions affected by declared disasters, such as COVID-19 and California wildfires.
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is a direct loan from the U.S. Federal Government. Applications are OPEN for the COVID-19 EIDL. New funding was provided in the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2021. Any small business can apply, with very limited exclusions. Independent Contractors, freelancers, gig workers, home-based businesses and any other sole-proprietor can apply. Nonprofits can also apply. The loan is for working capital to pay your business operational expenses, not to expand your business. It can be used to pay an owner their draw or wage for their living expenses. Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties within 3 days of a successful application. T

      • Apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan.  

      • EIDL Application Deadline: Applications will continue to be accepted as long as funding is available or Dec. 31, 2021, whichever is earlier.

      • Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance: The COVID-19 Targeted EIDL Advance was signed into law on December 27, 2020, as part of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits and Venues Act. The Targeted EIDL Advance provides businesses in low-income communities with additional funds to ensure small business continuity, adaptation, and resiliency. Advance funds of up to $10,000 will be available to applicants in low-income communities who previously received an EIDL Advance for less than $10,000, or those who applied but received no funds due to lack of available program funding. SBA will reach out to qualified applicants. The new 2021 American Rescue Plan Act provides an additional $15 billion for Targeted EIDL Advance payments, including a new $5 billion for Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance payments for those businesses hardest-hit.

    • COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program was created by the CARES Act to support COVID-19-impacted small business owners and their employees by providing loans, that can be forgiven, in support of payroll expenses, mortgage, or rent. But SBA is no longer accepting PPP applications from participating lenders. Businesses that received loans in prior funding rounds may still be in the process of applying for and waiting for approval on forgiveness.  Borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. The U.S. Small Business Administration has already forgiven more than 1.1 million PPP loans valued at more tha $100 billion. SBA is currently offering loans until May 31, 2021.  

      • PPP for Small BusinessesIn order to reach the smallest businesses, SBA will offer PPP loans to ONLY businesses with 20 or fewer employers and self-employed sole proprietors from Feb. 24-March 10, 2021. President Biden has also announced additional program changes to make access to PPP loans more equitable. The new 2021 American Rescue Plan Act puts an additions $7.25 billion into this program as well as expands eligibility to include more nonprofits and digital news services. 

      • Policy Guidance on PPP as Amended by the Economic Aid Act: Learn more.

      • Guidance on Accessing Capital for Minority, Underserved, Veteran and Women-Owned Business Concerns: Learn more.

      • PPP Expenses are deductible: This guidance reflects changes to law contained in the PDF icon COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act), Public Law 116-260, which was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020.

      • PPP Activity Updates: Round Three PPP Update:  Approximately 60,000 PPP loan applications submitted by nearly 3,000 lenders, for more that $5 billion, between the program’s re-opening on January 11-17, 2021.  PDF icon Previous PPP Loan Activity:  As of Aug. 8, 2020 (most recent), 5.2 million PPP loans have been approved in the US for a total of $525 billion.  In California, 623,360 PPP loans have been approved for a total of $68.6 billion.

  • Small Business Debt Relief will pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a) loans for a six-month period and of new 7(a) loans issued prior to Sept. 27, 2020.

  • SBA Express Bridge Loans enable small businesses with a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while waiting for the determination on your application for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. These loans will be repaid in full or in part with proceeds from the EIDL loan.


State of California Support

DOWNLOADPDF icon State Small Business COVID-19 Relief and Resources Guide

For more state programs and information, visit business.ca.gov or contact the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) at business.ca.gov/zendesk.

On Nov. 30, Governor Newsom announced immediate assistance for businesses impacted by COVID-19, including temporary tax relief and $500 million in grants. Learn more.

In April, the Governor issued directives to provide relief for small businesses and workers displaced by COVID-19. Relief plans include allowing small business owners to defer sales and use tax payments for up to $50,000. Learn more. He also announced the creation of an Employment Development Department call center and expedited access to the Work Share program to avert layoffs. The Governor also announced $125 million in disaster relief assistance for working Californians. Learn more. 

Small Business Technical Assistance

$500M California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant | California Office of Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) administering the $500 million grant program announced on Nov. 30 by the Governor and the Legislature, awarding grants up to $25,000 for small businesses impacted by COVID and the health and safety restrictions. Funds would be awarded to selected intermediaries with established networks of Community Development Financial Institutions to distribute relief through grants of up to $25,000 to underserved micro and small businesses throughout the state by early 2021. Nonprofits would also be eligible for these grants. If you are an interested small business or small nonprofit, please visit the grant page (here) for application information and eligibility criteria. The first round of applications closed on Jan. 13, 2021, and a more than 334,000 applicants were notified on a rolling basis from Jan. 15-22, 2021. Second-round applications were accepted from Feb. 2-8, 2021.

Grant recipients will be determined by a number of factors, including geographic distribution of awards based on COVID-19 impact factors, industry sectors most impacted by the pandemic, and underserved small business groups (e.g., businesses majority owned or operated daily by women, minorities/persons of color, veterans and businesses located in low- and moderate-income and/or rural communities). CalOSBA provides information, direct assistance, webinars and trainings, and advocates for small businesses to help them succeed in the California marketplace.

  • One-Stop for COVID-19 Business Guidance:  The California Labor Agency has launched a website (COVID-19 Employer Portal) to assist businesses in obtaining current information on COVID-19 guidance, including information from the state, local, and regional governments.

  • Small Business Centers | California supports a network of more than 80 small business technical assistance centers that provide free one-on-one consulting and no-cost or low-cost trainings to help businesses get funded, enter new markets, strengthen operations, build resiliency and more. With more than 30 languages available, use this map to find your local advisors today.

  • Get Digital CA | Launched by CalOSBA in September, “Get Digital CA!” is an e-commerce initiative which includes trainings and bootcamps for small businesses to build the skills necessary to compete in an online marketplace, and 40+ free or discounted partner resources offered to help small businesses get digital.

  • GO-Biz's Office of Permit Assistance | GO-Biz permit experts offer comprehensive permit and regulatory compliance assistance to all businesses in California by serving as the central source of permit guidance.

    • Shop Safe Shop Local:  GO-Biz is leading a campaign to remind Californians to shop local and help small businesses prepare for the business realities of COVID-19. The #ShopSafeShopLocal website highlights free/discounted resources to help small businesses get digital, find e-commerce tools, learn more about industry guidance, locate small business centers, and access PPE.  

Resilience and Disaster Preparedness Resources

  • COVID-19 Business and Employers Assistance | California and the federal government are providing broad assistance to small businesses and employers impacted by COVID-19.

  • OnwardCA | This is a one-stop resource for people impacted by job loss during the COVID-19 Pandemic with more than 70,000 job opportunities in critical industries.

  • OutSmart Disaster | Businesses can take the necessary steps to prepare for disasters and business interruption and become more resilient. Take California’s Resilient Business Challenge and get important resources to plan and prepare for disasters.

Capital Programs

  • California Rebuilding Fund | The California Rebuilding Fund is a loan program to support California’s small businesses—especially those located in economically disadvantaged and historically under-banked areas of the state. Businesses that employed 50 or less Full-Time Equivalent employees (FTEs) and had gross revenues of less than $2.5 million or below in 2019 are eligible to apply. The Fund was launched with an investment by the state to support California’s small businesses by offering flexible, affordable capital and free advisory services through community-based lenders. This program is built to be a resource in the market for the next year as businesses pivot and recover. An increase of $12.5 million, announced by the Governor on Nov. 30, would allow the Fund to be fully capitalized. The additional funding will help the 3rd party administrator of the fund raise $125 million to make more low-interest loans to small businesses with less access to loans from traditional banking institutions.

  • California Small Business Finance Center's California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) | 916-341-6600 | IBankhelps businesses create and retain jobs, and encourages investment in low- and moderate- ncome communities.

    • Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program provides guarantees for loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses. The State has allocated $50 million to mitigate barriers to capital for businesses with up to 750 employees.

    • Jump Start Loan Program provides microloans, technical assistance, and financial literacy training.
    • Farm Loan Program supports direct loans of up to $1,399,000 to small farms for purchase operating costs and other expenses.
  • California State Treasurer's Office | 916-654-5610 | California Capital Access Program (CalCAP) for Small Business is another state government-backed loan program that operates through a network of lenders to offer credit. It is a loan loss-reserve program that may provide up to 100% coverage on losses as a result of certain loan defaults.

Additional State Resources

  • $100M "Main Street" Small Business Hiring Tax Credit (CDTFA) | PDF icon SB1447 Tax Credit  | 800-400-7115
    Beginning Dec. 1, 2020, CDTFA began accepting applications for small business hiring credit against California state income taxes or sales and uses taxes to certain qualified small business employers that receive a tentative credit reservation subject to availability. To qualify for this credit, taxpayers (employers) must:

    • Have 100 or fewer employees on Dec. 31, 2019 (all employees, including part-time employees)
    • Have experienced a 50% decrease in gross receipts in the second quarter of 2020 (April 2020 to June 2020), compared to the second quarter of 2019 (April 2019 to June 2019)
    • Apply for a tentative credit reservation between Dec. 1, 2020 through Jan. 15, 2021, with the California Department of Tax & Fee Administration (CDTFA)

THIS IS IMPORTANT: A small business seeking this credit must first apply for it, beginning Dec. 1, 2020, through an online portal administered by the CDTFA. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is important to reserve credits as early as possible. If application volume is high, CDTFA may close the application window earlier than Jan. 15, 2021.


San Diego Region Updates and Support


Additional Support

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