Rapid Business Assessment
Small business owners entering the Initiative will be provided with a recommendation of what support and services they should receive and a measure of their level of readiness to access funding
One-on-One Business Advice
Following the assessment, small business owners will be matched with one of the Initiative’s Business Support Organization partners that will provide the recommended support and services
Relief Funding Guidance
Guidance will be provided to all small businesses on applying to varied grant and loan programs
Low Interest Loans
The Initiative also offers qualifying small businesses with low interest loan funding through our partner the National Development Council
Online Education & Resources
The Initiative will provide access to online workshops and tools that are designed to help small business owners understand how to recover and restore their business following the effects of COVID-19 and the current economic downturn
Stay tuned for a grant program that will support businesses that have been most impacted by COVID-19. All entrants to the Initiative will be notified when the grant program is open
Location of Business: Businesses must be located in municipalities within Hamilton County to apply for the Initiative
- To qualify for a loan via this Initiative your business must be located in a Low and Moderate Income Census Tract. Your Business Support Organization will guide you through your eligibility and application process, if applicable.
Size of Business: Businesses must have 25 or fewer employees. Preference will be given to businesses with 5 or fewer employees
How to Apply
Applications are open December 14, 2020 at 12:00 p.m ET and will be administered on a rolling basis.
Step 1: Create a free account on the Submittable platform, confirm eligibility, and complete the Rapid Business Assessment
Step 2: After completion of the assessment, a partnering Business Support Organization will reach out to you directly within five business days to schedule a consultation
Step 3: Once connected, your assigned Business Support Organization will work with you directly, providing guidance, offering helpful business solutions, and ultimately, connecting you to potential relief funding options
Step 4: Continue to work with your Business Support Organization on your short term and long term business goals while also accessing no-fee online educational resources, content, and tools that are designed to help you restore, rebuild, and grow your business
Frequently Asked Questions
- General Questions
- Submitting Your Interest
- Business Advice
- Funding Navigation
- Recovery Grants
- Low Interest Loans
- Technical Support
How long should I wait to hear from someone after completing my Rapid Business Assessment?
- Once your assessment is complete, we will send you a Business Report with next steps and recommendations for your business to your email within 2 business days.
- A representative from the organization matched to your business will follow up with you for a one-on-one consultation within 2-3 business days after you receive and are able to review your Business report.
Do businesses in all industries qualify?
- Gambling and liquor establishments, adult entertainment establishments, or other similar businesses do not qualify for this program.
- If you are considering entering and are unsure whether your business would qualify, please submit an inquiry here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will all eligible applicants receive funding through the Initiative’s loan program?
- Additional criteria will be evaluated to determine qualifying businesses.
Can business owners with a felony record participate?
Are sole proprietors eligible?
Can nonprofits apply?
- No, our programs are exclusively intended to support for-profit businesses.
Can for-profit businesses owned by a non-profit organization apply?
- For-profit businesses owned by non-profits organizations are eligible, as long as they meet all other requirements. The submission must be made through the for-profit business, and not the non-profit parent company.
Is there a credit score requirements for the participants?
- There’s no minimum credit score to participate in the program, but we will want to identify businesses that will require services around credit building – and leverage that information to find a best fit for the applicant’s
What if I am ineligible to complete the Rapid Business Assessment, but my business still needs help- what do I do?
- The community of organizations this initiative has brought together have a number of services that could be helpful for you. Please see the Partners section on the Initiative’s main page to explore your options for accessing other business services.
How and when can I enter the Initiative?
- The Initiative will open on December 14, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. ET. Submissions will be administered on a rolling basis.
What documentation do I need to submit?
- You do not need any documentation to enter the Initiative. However, depending on the support services you receive and the funding options to apply for, you will be required to provide relevant required documentation at that time.
I need language assistance or other accommodations to complete my Rapid Business Assessment- what do I do?
- Please indicate at the beginning of your assessment that you require accommodations. Complete the assessment to the best of your ability and a representative will reach out to you to connect you to the services you need and complete the assessment.
How will one-on-one business advising work and when will I receive the support?
- Once you complete our intake process and receive the assessment, a Business Support Organization will reach out to you within five days of your entry to make sure your form is complete and that you have access to key resources, such as webinars and handouts. Following the three-week intake period, a Business Support Organization will reach out to set up time with you for a one-on-one meeting to begin providing you with consulting services.
How will one-on-one business advising work and when will I receive the support?
- After completion of the assessment, a partnering Business Support Organization will reach out to you directly within five business days to schedule a consultation. Your assigned Business Support Organization will work with you directly, providing guidance, offering helpful business solutions to address the unique needs of your business, and ultimately, connecting you to potential relief funding options.
When will the grant applications open?
- We anticipate opening up grant applications in the first quarter of next year and all applicants in the Initiative will be notified. The criteria and size of grants will be determined at the later date.
What is Grow America Fund, Inc. (GAF)?
- Grow America Fund, Inc (GAF) is a Community Develoment Financial Institution (CDFI) licensed under the United States Small Business Administration’s Preferred Lenders Program (PLP). GAF’s focus is on providing flexible and patient expansion loans to established small businesses, manufacturers and distributors.
Who is eligible?
- This program is open to qualified, existing businesses in operation for at least 3 years with 2 – 500 employees and revenues generally between $500,000 and $20 million (subject to the SBA size standards by industry). Real estate investment or development projects are not eligible.
How much can I borrow?
- GAF loans generally range from $100,000 to $2,500,000. The specific amount a small business can borrow is subject to our underwriting standards and is largely based on historic cashflow.
How can loan funds be used and what are the repayment terms?
- Working Capital – repaid over 10 years
- Machinery & Equipment – repaid over 10 years
- Real Estate Acquisitions & Improvements – repaid over 25 years
- Debt Refinance – repaid over 10 years
- Tenant Improvements – repaid over the life of the lease, up to 10 years
Is there an application fee?
- No, GAF does not impose application fees on applicants.
Are there closing fees?
- GAF does not charge its own closing costs. The applicant will be responsible for any third-party costs that are required to close the loan, which may include: appraisals, legal fees, title fees, background searches, etc. All closing costs, including the 2-3% SBA guarantee fee, may be financed into the loan. Once your loan is approved, the applicant pays a 1% deposit, which is refundable upon loan disbursement.
What are the interest rates?
- Up to WSJ Prime + 2%, variable quarterly (effective rate: 4.75 – 5.25% as of 1/1/2020). Fixed rates are available upon request. Interest-only periods are possible.
What guarantees and collateral is required?
- Personal guarantees are required from any individual with >20% of the business. GAF may require all available collateral, including business and personal assets, to fully secure the loan.
Is any reporting required?
- GAF prides itself as a relationship lender. Each year, GAF contacts every borrower in the portfolio to ensure capital needs are continually being met, or at a minimum, to collect year-end financial statements and/or tax returns.
How is GAF different from other SBA and non-SBA lenders?
- Lower Interest Rates to enhance community development rather than corporate profit
- Longer repayment terms to lower your monthly payment and preserve business equity
- Flexible and understanding underwriting criteria that ensures your cash flow can cover your debt service
- GAF is a genuine, long-term lending partner to the businesses in the portfolio
Who is the primary point of contact for questions regarding the program?
- This webpage is the central point of contact for all questions related to the program. If you have questions about the program, you may send an email to email@example.com
I am having technical issues with creating an account to access your program. Who should I contact for support?
- If you have any questions and/or are encountering technical difficulties, please review information to troubleshoot your situation at the following link: Submittable Help Center.
- For more specific technical questions please reach out to Submittable’s Customer Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions specific to your submission, you can reply to your Business Support Organization.
I forgot my password for my assessment, how do I reset it?
- Resetting your password is very easy, you can click the link below the sign-in form that says “Forgot?” If you need further assistance, please reach out to the support team at email@example.com.
Can I save the progress of my Rapid Business Assessment without completing it?
- Yes, your progress through the assessment will save and you can pick up where you left off on your schedule.
I am having issues with my account on Submittable, what do I do?