Governor Mike DeWine has designated up to $125 million of funding received by the State of Ohio from the federal CARES Act to provide $10,000 grants to small businesses.  The Small Business Relief Grant is designed to assist Ohio businesses that have been harmed by the effects of COVID-19.  The program will begin accepting applications starting November 2, 2020.

As shown below, some of the funds are on a “first-come, first-served” basis.  Therefore, in order to obtain funds, businesses must act quickly.  Applications open on Monday, November 2, 2020, and those businesses that are prepared and ready to submit will stand a better chance of accessing funds.

Please do not hesitate to contact your GBQ team member if we can be of service in determining eligibility or applying.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible Businesses

The business must meet the following qualifications:

    • A for-profit entity,
    • At least one employee and no more than 25 total or full-time equivalent Ohio employees (paid via W2) as of January 1, 2020,
    • Have a physical location in Ohio,
    • Earn at least 90% of annual revenue based on activities performed in and taxable to Ohio, and
    • The business must have been in continuous operation since January 1, 2020, except for interruptions required by COVID-19 public health orders, and have the ability to continue operations as a going concern.

Ineligible Businesses

Businesses not eligible for funding include those that are: publicly traded; clubs; lobbying firms; operate an adult entertainment establishment or produce adult entertainment, as defined in section 2907.39 of the Revised Code; regulated by the Casino Control Commission or that operate Video Lottery Terminals; primarily engaged in advancing or managing partisan political activities or political issue advocacy; majority interest owned by persons under the age of 18; hospitals, private schools, or long-term care centers; engaged in the sale, cultivation or distribution of cannabis products; engaged in the sale or distribution of liquor, tobacco products, or vaping products; utility providers; and subject to the Financial Institutions Tax under Chapter 5725 of the Revised Code.

A full list of eligibility requirements can be found here.

Eligible Uses of Funds

Grant funds can be used to pay for certain business expenses. Eligible and ineligible costs include:

Eligible Costs Ineligible Costs
  • Personal protective equipment to protect employees, customers, or clients from COVID-19
  • Measures taken to protect employees, customers, or clients from COVID-19
  • Mortgage or rent payments for business premises (no personal residences)
  • Utility payments
  • Salaries, wages, or compensation paid to contractors or employees, including an employer’s share of health insurance costs
  • Business supplies or equipment
  • Costs for non-COVID related expenses
  • Costs incurred for federal, state, or local tax obligations
  • Costs incurred for non-business purposes
  • Costs incurred for political purposes
  • Costs incurred for which the business has or will receive reimbursement from another source, including any other government loan or grant program and insurance proceeds

Awarding Funds

Each business that meets the criteria and submits a complete application will be eligible for a grant in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • $44 million of the grant funds will be set aside to ensure businesses in all 88 counties receive funding. Fifty businesses will be funded in each county.
  • As applications are approved on a first-come, first-served basis, grants will be awarded first from each county’s allocation.
  • When a county’s allocation is depleted, grants will be awarded from the remainder of funding on a first-come, first-served basis regardless of the business’ location in Ohio.
  • If Development does not receive eligible applications sufficient to award all 50 grants to businesses in each county within the first 21 days after the application is opened, the remaining funds allocated to that county will be available to businesses regardless of their location in Ohio.

Application Process

Beginning on November 2nd, businesses can apply at businesshelp.ohio.gov. In order to access the application, individuals will be required to log in using an existing Ohio ID or create a new one, which provides users with secure access to State of Ohio services and programs. For more information on creating an Ohio ID, click here.

In order to prepare for the application process, the State has provided a list of information that will be required to apply.  Businesses who receive funds shall keep for five (5) years records of all specific expenses for which the funds were used.



Governor Mike DeWine has designated $38.7 million of funding received by the State of Ohio from the federal CARES Act to provide $2,500 assistance payments to active, on-premise liquor permit holders (as of close-of-business October 23, 2020) to help them through the financial difficulties experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic because these permit holders have not been able to fully use their liquor permit during this period. This program will also begin accepting applications on November 2, 2020.

Application Requirements

Licensees must present their FEIN or SSN, and liquor permit number and address for each unique location at the time of application. The Department of Taxation will confirm all entries. Applications will be accepted through December 30, 2020.  Funds will not be distributed after December 31, 2020.

Application Process

Click here to access the online application on November 2, 2020.  Note that permit holders may apply for the liquor assistance funding as well as the Small Business Relief Grant.

There are also many county-sponsored programs.  You should look to your county’s government to determine if additional funds are available. Our team is ready and able to help if you have questions about the various programs available. Please contact your GBQ advisor or Rebekah Smith, Dustin Minton, or Jeremy Bronson if you have questions or would like to schedule a call.


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