Fort Bend County has rolled out its Coronavirus Response Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. The program was developed to help small businesses struggling because of the economic shutdown and the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on businesses.
Here’s 25 answers to frequently asked questions to help business owners and managers considering applying for the grants:
1. Is this for Fort Bend Business only? Yes, this program is for businesses located in Fort Bend County
2. Can non-profits apply? This program is for profits only. We recommend that if you have not done so already, you make application for PPP through the SBA
3. Can churches apply? Non-profits are not eligible. We recommend that if you have not done so already, you make application for PPP through the SBA
4. Where do I apply? The online application will be available on Monday, June 15th at 8 am at www.fortbendcountytx.gov
5. Can I apply through my bank? No, you would apply on-line through www.fortbendcountytx.gov
6. Is this open to self-employed or sole proprietors? Yes
7. If I applied for an EIDL but don’t have it yet, do I qualify? We encourage you to apply as soon as the program is on line and then if you do receive funds from EIDL prior to the funding of the Fort Bend County Grant, you will be eligible after the first two weeks of the program when it opens to those what have not received SBA assistance.
8. Is this available to travel agents who are independent contractors with no employees? You are encouraged to apply in case there is a second phase that may adjust the criteria. Your information will be used to indicate if there is a need.
9. Is there a credit score requirement? No, the FICO report is to determine if the business is in good standing and viable.
10. What if my income is way below $100,000? You are encouraged to apply in case there is a phase two that may adjust the criteria. Your information will be valuable in determining if there is a need.
11. What is considered inventory? Inventory would be property, goods in stock, or the contents of a building. If you had to replenish inventory as a result of COVID-19. For example, a restaurant who had to replenish perishable food.
12. When it says no more than 20 full-time employees, does that mean full-time only? How do part-time employees count? The calculation of full-time equivalent (FTE) is an employee’s scheduled hours divided by the employer’s hours for a full-time workweek. When an employer has a 40-hour workweek, employees who are scheduled to work 40 hours per week are 1.0 FTEs. Employees scheduled to work 20 hours per week are 0.5 FTEs.
13. If I registered my business in Fort Bend County but my business is located in Houston, can I apply? Your business must be located in Fort Bend County
14. How are FTEs calculated among multiple locations? For businesses with multiple locations, the employee count will be calculated per location.
15. Do other counties have similar programs? Yes, some do, you would need to locate the county website for more information
16. Is there going to be a second phase that expands the eligibility? We hope that there will be additional funding and then we will be able to determine if the criteria needs to be changed at that time.
17. Does this apply to small businesses that were in the process of being built but construction was put on hold due to COVID-19? The business must have been operational as of February 15, 2020 and has not permanently closed.
18. Will you pull personal credit or business credit? A FICO report will be pulled under the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) provided.
19. Does the Fort Bend County program support eligibility for persons who have been laidoff, applied for full-time positions with no luck, but who now wish to start their own consulting firm? The business must have been operational as of February 15, 2020. Visit your local chamber of commerce to see what resources are available. Also, Fort Bend County is currently operating a business coaching program at Gallery Furniture.
20. Does a business that actually opened mid-March that had a loan since 2019 and started paying rent and the loan back in 2019 qualify? The business must have been operational as of February 15, 2020
21. What if I have multiple locations? Can I apply for just one or all? Is it based on my FEIN number? The application is based on the FEIN number. One grant application per FEIN.
22. What if my company just opened in 2020 and I have no financials for 2019? If there is some way to show that you have suffered a decline in income due to COVID-19 even though you were not in business is 2019, send it in and the case worker will review your application for program eligibility.
23. What if I made over $2 million in 2019, but know we will not hit that mark this year due to COVID? We encourage you to apply and you may be able to qualify should there be a phase two of this program.
24. If we have over $2,000,000 in revenue, can we apply? Although this initial phase is for businesses under $2,000,000 in revenue, we encourage you to apply and you may be able to qualify should there be a phase two of this program.
25. How do I obtain a Franchise Account Tax Status? A Franchise Account Tax Status can be obtained through the Texas Comptroller’s office.