Business Impact Opportunity Fund

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Small businesses need support, technical assistance, and tools to support their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to withstand future economic shocks. Recognizing this, Denver is implementing the Business Impact Opportunity Fund, a program that provides strong and efficient support to small businesses as they work on bouncing back from the economic strife caused by the public health crisis.

Overview

Denver is dedicating $5 million from its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocation from the U.S. Treasury to implement the Business Impact Opportunity Fund program. This program is designed to address specific challenges faced by small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis and who, as a result, often more severely experience these challenges and systemic barriers.

The Business Impact Opportunity Fund will provide assistance to small businesses through a combination of grants of up to $15,000 and technical assistance.

Grants

  • Applicants may apply for a one-time grant in only one of the grant categories. 
  • Regardless of the grant category selected by and awarded to the business, the grant amount is the same for each category and is based on the annual gross revenue tier.
  • $7,500 for businesses with annual gross revenue equal or less than $100,000
  • $15,000 for businesses with annual gross revenue equal or greater than $100,001

The following are the types of grants the program provides.

Stabilization Grants

Mitigate specific operating challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, such as depletion of cash reserves, loss of customers due to COVID precautions, continued supply chain and staffing issues.

Activation Grants

Establish/renew leases (for a minimum of 12 moths) in specific, designated commercial corridors  where business closures (resulting from the pandemic) have produced vacancies, service gaps and/or conditions of blight. Under this grant category, existing and new businesses located in the designated commercial corridors may seek financial assistance for eligible expenses, such as security measures and equipment to provide building and surrounding security.

Note: If awarded, eligible activities such as establishing/renewing a lease or purchasing and installing security equipment/measures must be planned to occur after May 16, 2022 and within 180 days of receipt of grant. Disbursement of this grant for purposes of security equipment/measures will be on a reimbursement basis to the business upon providing supporting documentation evidencing eligible expenses.

Anti-Displacement Grants

Alleviate revenue losses resulting from publicly funded construction projects or partial relocation assistance in cases where a business has no option but to relocate as a result of impending new development.

Note: Disbursement of this grant for the purpose of relocation will be on a reimbursement basis to the business upon providing supporting documentation evidencing eligible expenses.


Technical Assistance

The program's technical assistance will include the following components:

  • Guidance with completing the grant application and navigation services to ensure the most vulnerable businesses can access this resource
  • Capacity-building to withstand future economic shocks
  • Lease negotiation and eviction prevention, financial assistance readiness, safety measures, and managing business disruption such as construction, pandemics, etc.

Eligibility

Eligible businesses that may complete this application and be considered for an award must meet the following criteria. 

Business must meet one of the following:

  1. Business is located in the pre-qualified areas as identified on the Denver Recovery Index map. Instructions for using Recovery  Map:
  • Enter the address of the business using the magnifying glass icon
  • As you type the address, the search function will auto-populate
  • Once the address appears, select it
  • Double click the arrows on the pop-up window until the Full Index Score appears
  • If the Full Index Score is less than 0.89, your business is eligible

OR 

2. Business is in one of the following eligible NAICS codes. These NAICS codes have been identified as experiencing at least 8% employment loss from pre-pandemic levels.

  • 23 - Construction
  • 32 – Manufacturing (lumber focused)
  • 33 – Manufacturing (mechanical or chemical)
  • 442 -- Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores
  • 443 -- Electronics and Appliance Stores
  • 448 -- Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores
  • 451 -- Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument, and Book Stores
  • 4522 -- Department Stores
  • 4543 -- Direct Selling Establishments
  • 48 – Transportation and Warehousing
  • 56 -- Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
  • 61 -- Educational Services
  • 71 -- Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
  • 72 -- Accommodation and Food Services
  • 81 -- Other Services (except Public Administration)

For reference, you can access the NAICS codes database

Business must meet these criteria in addition to one of the above:

  1. Business must be located in the City and County of Denver, in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State's office, and compliant with all city, state, and federal licensing and taxing authorities.
  2. Annual gross revenue of $5 million or less
  3. Be engaged in activities that are legal under Colorado and federal law
  4. Only if applying for a Stabilization Grant: business must have been operational prior to March 2020 and demonstrate a 10% revenue decline using a minimum three-month revenue period comparing pre-pandemic revenue (2019) with current revenue (2021 or 2022 for the same time period.)

For example, if in 2019, your business identified a quarter or 90-day period where the revenue was $10,000 and in 2022, you identified the same time period where the revenue was $9,000, your business experienced a 10% revenue loss.

4. Only if applying an Activation Grant: business must be located within or intending to locate within a one quarter-mile radius of the following intersections:

  • South Federal Boulevard & West Alameda Avenue
  • Colfax Avenue & Broadway
  • East Colfax Avenue & North Yosemite Street
  • East 47th Avenue & North Peoria Street
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard & North Holly Street
  • West 14th Avenue & North Federal Boulevard
  • West Mississippi Avenue & South Lipan Street
  • East Dartmouth Avenue and South Havana Street

5. Only if applying for an Anti-Displacement Grant to alleviate revenue loss due to publicly funded construction projects: business can demonstrate a 10% revenue decline using a minimum three-month and up to 12-month revenue period comparing pre-construction revenue with during-construction revenue resulting from public construction impact. The previous example applies but with a different impact, construction versus the pandemic.  Support for relocation where a business is left with no choice but to relocate is restricted to the new location being within the City and County of Denver and within a half-mile radius of the original business location.

Application

  • Applications for the first round of funding open on Monday, May 16, 2022 and close on Monday, June 13, 2022 at 5 p.m. (MST).
  • Additional funding rounds are anticipated in July and August of 2022. 
  • A complete application does not guaranteed an award. Approval for assistance will be based upon a combination of factors including eligibility, program priorities, and availability of funds.
  • Applications must be submitted via the online portal