Somerville Small Business Recovery Fund to Reopen and Expand Eligibility to Independent Contractors
Second Round of Funding Will Open March 1, 2023. Applications Will Be Accepted Through March 21, 2023.
Mayor Katjana Ballantyne announces that Somerville’s Small Business Recovery Fund will reopen on March 1, 2023, with more inclusive eligibility criteria to better serve Somerville business owners. This round of funding will distribute approximately $500,000 to help local businesses as they recover from the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund provides forgivable loans for eligible applicants worth up to $15,000 for brick-and-mortar businesses and $5,000 for home-based businesses. To qualify, businesses must be located within the City of Somerville, have 20 or fewer full-time employees, and be able to demonstrate a decline in revenue over the past several years, among other criteria. Applications will be accepted from March 1 through March 21, 2023.
“Every day, whether I’m getting a morning coffee, buying my family’s groceries, or picking up my dog’s favorite treats, I am constantly inspired by the passion and ingenuity of Somerville’s small business community, but the pandemic has created difficult challenges,” said Mayor Ballantyne. “By reopening the Small Business Recovery Fund we aim to strategically target assistance to local business owners that will help them on the road to recovery.”
Somerville’s Small Business Recovery Fund distributed more than $1.4 million to community businesses during its first funding round, which ran from late November 2022 through January 2023. The funding was particularly successful in reaching businesses that are especially vulnerable to economic hardships. More than 75% of applications were received from businesses with a majority women or minority ownership, and 95% of applications were from businesses with fewer than ten employees.
“COVID used most of our savings. It is a big deal for us to receive this funding—It is like oxygen for us,” said Iliassou Fassassi, owner of Fadil African Hair Braiding, which has received a small business recovery loan from the City. “We are relieved knowing the City is supporting us, and the funding will help us improve many different areas of our business.”
The first funding round also provided important takeaways that informed updated eligibility criteria to improve the Small Business Recovery Fund. To make the funding more accessible, the City has expanded the category of “Home-Based Businesses” to “Home-based Businesses/Independent Contractors.”
Independent contractors are eligible for up to $5,000 through the program so long as they have a valid business license and can show that they have been operating in Somerville since at least April 1, 2021. Examples of independent contractors can range from private consulting practices to freelance writers to barbers who rent chairs at a barbershop that they themselves do not own. Additional documentation may be requested based on the business type.
The City’s community partners, and the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs, are ready to help business owners successfully complete their funding applications. Free application assistance is available via the below organizations:
- Somerville Main Streets (149 Broadway)
- Languages Available: English
- Union Square Main Streets (366 Somerville Avenue)
- Languages Available: Spanish, English
- Languages Available: Spanish, Portuguese, English
Applicants can also receive assistance in other languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Chinese, and Nepali by contacting the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs (SOIA) via somervillema.gov/ContactSomerViva or calling 311 at 617-666-3311.
“Somerville’s Recovery Fund has proven incredibly beneficial to East Somerville businesses,” said Lindsay Allen, Executive Director of East Somerville Main Streets. “The small business community continues to experience the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic and this funding will help to stabilize businesses as they look towards growth.”
If the City receives more applications than the program can fund, applicants will receive priority based on a score determined by several characteristics in their application (such as whether they have received previous rounds of COVID-related funding, or whether its women or minority-owned), until program funds are depleted.
Potential applicants can learn more about eligibility requirements and complete their application at somervillema.gov/bizrelief or by calling iParametrics at 617-863-2160.
Persons with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication (i.e., CART, ASL), written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access the programs, activities, and meetings of the City of Somerville should please contact Adrienne Pomeroy in advance at 617-625-6600 x 2059 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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