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Relief funds to support restaurants and small businesses

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Economic Development

Totaling a $9.4 million investment, the City seeks to assist businesses in their recovery.

Today, Mayor Kim Janey announced that the City of Boston will launch two relief funds for small businesses in the City of Boston to aid business owners in their reopening and recovery from COVID-19. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund and the Small Business Relief Fund 2.0 represent a joint $9.4 million investment into local businesses and workers in neighborhoods across the City from new FY22 operating investments and the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The online applications will be available starting Wednesday, September 8, 2021 on boston.gov/small-business in English, Spanish, and nine additional languages.

“The success of small businesses is crucial to helping working families and to maintaining the unique character of Boston’s different neighborhoods,” said Mayor Janey. “This program aims to help Boston’s economy recover by incentivizing our workers and ensuring that our business owners have all of the resources necessary for a successful reopening.” 

There are approximately 40,000 small businesses in the City of Boston, which have faced unprecedented financial hardship during the pandemic and now are struggling to attract and retain workers. Led by Mayor Janey, the Office of Economic Development (OED) conducted a roundtable discussion in June 2021 with business owners to solicit ideas on how the City can better support restaurants during the reopening and recovery of our economy. In response to that feedback, as well as ongoing surveys with small business owners of all sectors, the City of Boston is responding directly to those needs to build back stronger and more equitably.

“By leveraging federal funding and new city operating investments, the City of Boston is ready to support our local businesses as well as workers to ensure an equitable recovery,” said Midori Morikawa, Interim Chief of Economic Development. “Working in partnership with the Office of Workforce Development, this critical support will benefit workers through fair wages, retention bonus incentives, and continuing education opportunities as well as businesses owners’ needs, from relief to growth plans.”

Restaurant Revitalization Fund 

The new Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), a three-month pilot program in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD), will provide a much needed lifeline to restaurants as they recover from COVID-19. The three key components of the RRF are: 

  • Grants: restaurant business owners may be eligible for both of these grant funds:
    • All Restaurants: a $5,000 grant for business expenses including rent, payroll, or inventory;
    • Restaurants with Tipped Employees: a $15,000 grant to increase payroll for tipped employees to $12.75 per hour as a part of the One Fair Wage initiative; 
  • Employee Incentives: a $900 retention bonus to attract and retain restaurant workers for new and existing employees that continue employment at the small business for the continuous pilot 3-month period; tuition assistance for college or training programs to those retained workers for two years while working at a restaurant; and 100 B-Local Points per employee for each month of continuous employment during the pilot program.
  • Marketing Campaign: a public awareness campaign featuring RRF restaurants as “champion” employers offering good wages and benefits. The campaign aims to attract workers across the restaurant industry in Boston. A public Request for Proposals (RFP) from qualified marketing consultants will be released by the Office of Economic Development in September 2021. The RFP will be available on the City of Boston Supplier Portal.

Applications will be available at boston.gov/restaurant-relief.

Small Business Relief Fund 2.0

The Small Business Relief Fund 2.0 (SBRF 2.0) will reopen the Small Business Relief Fund initially launched in April 2020. The SBRF 2.0 will issue grants up to $20,000 to small businesses. These grants would be designed to help businesses in the hardest hit industries cover all business expenses to help their recovery and growth. To date, the Small Business Fund has issued $6.7 million in grants to more than 1,850 businesses. Applicants will be invited to apply in one consolidated application for two different funding options:

  1. Relief Grant: up to $10,000 in grant funding to support outstanding debts for rent/mortgage, inventory, payroll, or fixed expenses; and/or
  2. Growth Grant: up to $10,000 in grant funding to support business growth through tools, technology, materials, personnel, or other costs associated with investing in the growth of the business.

Applications will be available at boston.gov/business-relief.

How to apply: 

Small businesses located in the City of Boston with 25 employees or fewer may be eligible for one or both of these funding opportunities. Business owners can visit boston.gov/small-business for more information and eligibility criteria. The online applications will be available starting Wednesday, September 8, 2021 on boston.gov/small-business in English, Spanish, and nine additional languages.

To learn more about these opportunities, the City of Boston will be offering virtual information sessions on Thursday, September 2 at 8:00 a.m and Wednesday, September 8 at 5:30 p.m. and streamed live on Facebook or via Zoom on ​​bit.ly/SBRFinfo. Interested applicants can also join the weekly Small Business Office Hours on Friday, September 3 from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. or 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. at bit.ly/smallbizofficehours.

ABOUT THE MAYOR'S OFFICE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The Economic Development Cabinet's mission is to make Boston an appealing and accessible place for working families, entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors to innovate, grow, and thrive in a way that fosters inclusion, broadens opportunity, and shares prosperity, thereby enhancing the quality of life for all Bostonians and the experience for all visitors. Learn more here.

ABOUT THE MAYOR’S OFFICE OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

The Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (OWD) is an innovative agency within the Boston Planning & Development Agency that seeks to ensure the full participation of all Boston residents in the city's economic vitality and future. OWD funds and oversees programs that promote workforce development through education, jobs training, apprenticeships, financial coaching, career pathways, literacy initiatives, and the like. Please visit owd.boston.gov to learn more about OWD's work.

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