REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – In just under three weeks since the San Mateo County Strong Fund (SMCSF) small business grant program was created with seed money by the Board of Supervisors, today a major milestone was reached with approximately 100 businesses having been allocated a total of $1 million to help them survive the impacts of COVID-19.
“It’s clear that the need is great for our small businesses. These grants are a start to help some of our small businesses – all which are vital to a vibrant community – get through financial hardship caused by this pandemic. Thank you to all our partners, including SAMCEDA and the San Mateo Credit Union to make these grants reality,” said Supervisor Warren Slocum, President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
The initial $1 million in seed funding from the County of San Mateo is from Measure K sales tax funds collected countywide. The SMCSF allocation formula is based on each city, town or unincorporated community receiving their prorated portion of the $1 million, equaling at least one $10,000 grant per jurisdiction.
Businesses that received grants were approved through an application, evaluation and funding process developed by the San Mateo County Manager’s office, the San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA), and with the San Mateo Credit Union as the financial partner.
Specific to small business support, the goal of the SMCSF is to provide emergency grants through the San Mateo Credit Union Community Fund to support small, local businesses in their efforts to provide payroll for employees, maintain operations, meet ongoing obligations and survive the economic impacts of California’s Shelter in Place order. Grant funding is awarded to eligible applicants in an amount equivalent to two months of operating expenses, not to exceed $10,000, and subject to availability of funds.
The application portal received 2,798 total unique email addresses entered as a first step in the application process, and all email addresses were time stamped. A total of 1,232 applications were completed. The demand was so strong to access the application portal that 187 of the 1,232 completed applications were started in the first sixty seconds the portal was opened.
“We know this is a desperate situation for our small businesses and we anticipated that the interest in applications would be heavy. The demand was so great we closed the application portal in just over one day. SAMCEDA and our local chambers of commerce are fighting to support and save our local businesses,” commented Rosanne Foust, President & CEO, of SAMCEDA. “We could not have implemented this grant program without the San Mateo Credit Union stepping up as our partner.”
In an effort to get the money out as quickly as possible, award letters are being sent on a rolling basis as applications are reviewed as approved or denied. The process is intended to protect the privacy of all applicants, and only the names of those businesses who receive a grant will be made public.
The next phase of the approval process will be to qualify additional applications in cities and towns which have stepped up to match the County and allocate funds for more small businesses in their communities. The following list of cities and towns have approved funding for their small businesses through the San Mateo County Strong Fund Small Business Grant Program:
- Atherton: $15,000
- Belmont: $100,000 (pending city approval)
- Burlingame: $500,000
- Colma: $15,000
- Daly City: $75,000
- Menlo Park: $70,000
- Millbrae: $100,000
- Pacifica: $50,000 (pending city approval)
- Portola Valley: $100,000
- Redwood City: $300,000
- San Carlos: $112,000
- San Mateo: $400,000
- Woodside: $10,000
Even after the additional city funding augments the County’s $1 million, there will still be a multi-million dollar need in just the unfunded but eligible applications in the existing pool of 1,232 completed applications.
Efforts are underway to raise additional funds from businesses, foundations, and other donors. Just this week the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), the Woodside Community Foundation, and the San Bruno Community Foundation announced contributions to the small business grant program totaling almost an additional $500,000.
Completed applications have been received from all San Mateo County’s 20 cities and towns as well as unincorporated communities and represent the diversity of small business types operating across the county.