Business Impact Opportunity Fund

Photo of black female handing food from food truck to a white man customer, both similing

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 months) 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 September 8, 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. 2021 annual gross revenue at a minimum of $30,000 and a maximum of $5 million
  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 third round of funding open on Monday, September 12, 2022 and close on Monday, October 10, 2022 at 5 p.m. (MST)
  • 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 (portal will go live on September 12)

FAQs

The following are a some of the frequently asked questions that the program has received. We trust these answers fulfill your inquiry.

  • Are nonprofits eligible for this grant?
    No, this program is specifically offered to small (for-profit) businesses only. 
  • If my business received financial assistance related to COVID, will that affect my eligibility for this grant? 
    No. Eligibility is not affected by the receipt of other grants and loans provided as COVID relief for businesses.  
  • I opened my business in 2020. Can I still apply?
    Businesses applying for the Stabilization Grant where the business must demonstrate a revenue decline resulting from the pandemic, must have opened by December 2019 as 90 days of pre-pandemic revenue is required to compare with the impact “during-pandemic” that continued into 2021 and 2022. The other grant categories offer opportunities for businesses that opened post March 26, 2020. Those are the Activation grant or the Anti-Displacement grant.
  • My business address is my home address, which is located outside Denver city limits but I operate in the City and County of Denver. 
    Businesses operating out of a home address may be eligible to apply if they conduct business operations within the City and County of Denver and meet the other eligibility requirements. Enter the address that your business operates from.

    If the address indicates outside the city of Denver, and is a mobile business, you must provide evidence of lease or ownership of real property or permitted operations in the City and County of Denver. For example, a pedi-cab operator that operates in the RiNo District must show evidence of lease of space such as a parking garage space or storage unit in the city. As another example, a food truck must show evidence of a commissary kitchen in the city. Mobile businesses may only count the revenue earned within the City and County of Denver. 
  • If my business has more than one location, can I apply for all of them?
    Yes, you may apply for all your businesses operating in the City and County of Denver and meeting the eligibility criteria. You must complete a separate application for each business location by selecting “Add Another” on the application portal. 
  • Must the financial period selected be a consecutive 90-day period?
    Yes, unless you choose to compare annually such as comparing 2019 (pre-pandemic) with 2021 or 2022 (during-pandemic). In other words, when comparing annually, there may be three or more months of revenue decline even if not consecutive. If not comparing annually, the revenue period should be a quarter or other 90-day consecutive period such as December 2019, January 2020 and February 2020.   

    Select your hardest hit revenue period (during-pandemic) to compare with pre-pandemic. An annual or year-over-year comparison may not be the best to compare. 
  • I am having issues logging in and/or creating a profile in the application portal. How can I fix this? 
    The online application works best using Google Chrome. Apple products are not optimal devices but technical issues can be resolved by closing the webpage, clearing the cache, and continue using Google Chrome. Additionally, error messages may appear when there are some invalid characters in the email, so be sure there are no spaces before or after the email address. If the email was automatically entered by the browser, delete the email address and manual type it in correctly, to avoid the error.

    Use of a computer or laptop is preferred instead of using a phone or tablet.