Small Business Stabilization Grants

The City of Lincoln is offering Small Businesses Stabilization Grants.

Grants are available for small businesses in Lincoln with 50 or fewer employees that experienced revenue loss due to the pandemic. Small businesses may apply for up to $60,000 to pre-pay for up to six months of rent or mortgage payments.

A total of $5 million dollars will be made available for businesses that have at least 6, but no more than 50 employees. An additional $2 million dollars will be set aside for micro businesses with 5 or fewer employees. $7 million in total will be available at this time.

Grant awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Funds are available from the American Rescue Plan and small businesses must meet federal requirements. Fraudulent documentation or activity will not be tolerated and will be subject to relevant legal actions and consequences. 

Program Purpose

The purpose of this program is to provide stabilization assistance to small businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic. The program will provide rent or mortgage payments to assist small businesses in stabilizing and growing business operations and employment as well as to recover from pandemic losses.

Grant Program Benefits

Qualifying small businesses may apply for up to $60,000 to pre-pay up to six months of rent or mortgage payments.

The total amount for any business will be based on the current rent or mortgage payment. The grant award will be made directly to the lender or landlord for the total amount in one lump sum. Payments are not for the purpose of paying back due rent, but businesses with back due rent are not disqualified.

Rent is defined as base rent defined by the lease plus the “triple net” costs reflecting insurance, taxes, and common area costs.

Participating businesses will also be offered opportunities to learn more about other grant, loan, and certification programs.

Eligibility Requirements

Businesses must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Businesses must be for-profit, independently operated businesses. A sole proprietorship may qualify.
  • Applicants must have a physical location doing business in the City of Lincoln.
  • Businesses must have at least one owner, officer, shareholder, member, or manager residing in Nebraska or have a parent company headquartered in Nebraska.
  • Businesses must demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between 2019 and 2020 based on tax returns.
  • Businesses must have been in operation prior to February 29, 2020.
  • Businesses must provide all necessary documentation.

 

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in the Small Business Stabilization Grant Program. Funding is available for this program on a first-come, first-served basis. The full amount of funding has been requested, so new applications are no longer being accepted. If you have already applied and have questions about the program or process, please review the information below. The City of Lincoln supports small businesses and appreciates your hard work and tenacity. Additional information about the outcomes of the grant program will be shared on this page in the future.

Applications will be reviewed and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive a confirmation of receipt of your application. The process will take several weeks. This application is designed to work best on a desktop device and you may experience challenges if you work from a mobile device.

Businesses that need language assistance with the application may contact the Asian Community and Cultural Center at 402-477-3446.

Individuals with disabilities or folks asking for accommodations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act may contact Grace Willnerd directly at gwillnerd@lincoln.ne.gov or 531-207-9200.

Questions about the application, process, or your application status should be directed to the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) at sbsgrants@sendd.org or 402-475-2560. SENDD is the contractor that is processing individual applications.

Watch the Small Business Grants Webinar recorded on October 8

Business owners must submit the application. Owners of multiple businesses must submit a separate application for each business. Businesses with multiple locations may apply for rent or mortgage assistance for up to two locations for a maximum of $60,000 total. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applicants should gather the following documentation in electronic form to prepare to submit an application on October 18, 2021.

Business owners must provide:

  • A copy of the current lease agreement or mortgage statement.
  • Proof of rent or mortgage payment in the form of a bank statement or the front and back of a cancelled (cleared or processed) check.
  • 2019 and 2020 tax returns that demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between 2019 and 2020.
  • A W-9 form.
  • A utility bill from the last 90 days with an address consistent with the business address, such as a water bill or an electric bill.
  • A signed program attestation form(PDF, 404KB).
  • A signed program agreement letter(PDF, 423KB).

Business owners must submit the following information from their landlord or mortgage holder:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

Do home based businesses or independent contractors qualify?

No.  Individuals may receive rental assistance through the city rental assistance program at lincoln.ne.gov/rent

Do nonprofit organizations qualify?

No.  Nonprofits may apply for funding through the nonprofit funding program.  Learn more at lincoln.ne.gov/ARP.

What does it mean to have a physical location doing business in the City of Lincoln?

This means a physical location that is open for business in Lincoln City limits.

Is the number of employees based on full time equivalent employees?

No, it is based on the number of employees total, per the Small Business Administration definition.  Every person that works for your business is counted as “1” person no matter how many hours they work.

Can a franchise qualify?

Yes, if they are independently owned and operated.

I’m current on my rent, do I qualify?

This program is for businesses impacted by the pandemic seeking rental or mortgage assistance.  Your previous back due rent or your current status with your landlord is not a consideration for eligibility.

Can new businesses apply?

No, this assistance is intended to provide relief for businesses that experienced a negative economic impact due to the pandemic and existed prior to February 29, 2020, consistent with Small Business Administration programs.

What if I think I qualify but I have a special circumstance?

Applications may be reviewed on a case by case basis for compliance with the American Rescue Plan and the small businesses assistance program guidelines.

Can businesses that started in 2019 qualify?
Yes.  An alternative calculation will be performed to determine the net loss of the company from the start date to the end of the year in 2019 to the comparable timeframe in 2020.
What if I share space with another business?

Each business should have an independent business address.  This may mean an independent suite number or a shared address with a separate business title corresponding with their Secretary of State filing. 

How will you verify the business eligibility?
We will review all of the documentation submitted in your application and cross-check that with the Secretary of State’s information, the Lancaster County Assessor’s office, and ensure that the funds requested meet the threshold of six months of payments up to $60,000.
What unique circumstances make it difficult to determine whether or not my business meets eligibility requirements?

The program will not make eligibility predeterminations.  Businesses in unique circumstances are encouraged to apply and provide the documentation available in order to work with program staff and receive an eligibility determination. 

Am I eligible if I rent a chair in a business such as a hairdresser, barber, or workspace? May I apply for rent of equipment, storage space, or vehicles?

No.  To meet the eligibility requirements you must show that your business rents a business space, that you operate your business from that space,  and that you pay utilities for that space.

What if I am a recently established business?

You must have been conducting  business prior to March 1, 2020 to qualify.  Conducting business may vary based on the individual circumstances.  Recently established businesses are encouraged to apply and determinations will be made based on Small Business Administration guidelines.  

What if my business does not show a 25% reduction in gross receipts in a 2019 verses 2020 tax form comparison but the business still suffered pandemic related losses?

In order to implement this program fairly, the same eligibility criteria will be applied to all businesses.  The only exception to this will be options for businesses that were recently opened but were conducting business by March 1, 2020. 

What if my business doesn’t have a 25% gross reduction in receipts, but my location in Lincoln does?

The business is the applicant, not the location.  In this situation, if the businesses overall does not demonstrate an overall 25% gross reduction in receipts, the business does not qualify. 

How do I confirm that my business is in the City of Lincoln?

You may confirm your business location by reviewing the information available from the City of Lincoln Planning Department's GIS Viewer.

  

 

  

Benefits

Does this need to be paid back?

No. It is a grant.

Is this assistance considered income for taxable purposes?

You should consult your tax accountant. A 1099 will be sent to the Landlord or Mortgage holder.

Can we apply for back-due rent?

No.  The purpose of this program is to stabilize businesses.  If back due rent is owed, the business owner could use the rental assistance period to pay off debts owed with revenue freed up by the rental assistance payment.  

What exactly do you define as rent?

Rent is defined as base rent or base rent defined by the lease plus the “triple net” costs reflecting insurance, taxes, and common area costs.  Rent does not include utility payments.  Rent must be for the business location listed on the Secretary of State documentation and the lease.  Rent does not apply to storage facilities, equipment rental, or other purposes other than paying the rent or mortgage for the location of your business.

What if my rent or mortgage is set to increase in 2022?

The grant payments will be based on your rent or mortgage payment currently due.  If your rent or mortgage costs increase in the future, you will be responsible to pay that difference. This is the case even if you negotiated a lower rent due to the pandemic and the rent will change in the future.  

 

 

Documentation

What if I have a disagreement with my landlord about the cost of rent?

In order to submit your application, you must submit a letter of agreement regarding the cost of rent in which both landlord and tenant agree.

What if I’m not sure about the future of my business?

In order to apply, you must agree to maintain business operations at the same location for the period for which you receive assistance per attestation.

What might be accepted as alternative documentation of revenue loss?

Tax statements are the preferred method, but we may accept a profit and loss statement on a case-by-case basis.

What if I don’t have everything?

The City of Lincoln requires documentation to prove compliance with federal rules and regulations.  If you do not have the required documentation, contact the Southeast Nebraska Development District for further assistance. 

What document format should be used?

Documents may be accepted in PDF, JPG, and PNG format.

What if I don’t have the type of utility bill requested?

The purpose of the utility bill is to demonstrate that the business is currently established and operating.  A utility bill should be in the name of the business, and may include a internet bill, refuse collection bill, a phone bill, or another service or utility bill in the name of the business addressed to the location for which rent is being requested.

What part of my Federal tax filings do you need?

Small businesses are set up in many different ways, but we are looking for the Federal tax document that shows your gross receipts for the year.  Most businesses will file one of the following: Schedule C for sole proprietorships (2 pages), Form 1065 for partnerships (5 pages), Form 1120 for C Corporations (5 pages), and Form 1120-S for S corporations (6 pages).

What tax documents do I need to provide if my company switched its status in 2019?

If your business changed from an LLC to a corporation or vice versa, you will need to upload the Federal tax document that corresponds with that entity for 2019 and 2020.  Although the documents you upload may be different, they will still continue the gross receipts for the business and will suffice for our comparison.

Can I use a mobile browser to submit my application?

We encourage you to submit your application using a desktop computer.