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Apply Today for the Union County Back to Business Grant Program

Apply Today for the Union County Back to Business Grant Program

Posted on September 11, 2020

Update: October 29, 2020

The Back to Business Grant Program was a success with an overwhelming number of responses. Union County awarded a total of $1.75 million in funding to local businesses. Click here to see a list of Union County businesses that were approved for a grant.

"We quickly realized the response to our grant program would be overwhelming and increasing funding allocated for the program by 75-percent," said Deputy County Manager Michelle Lancaster. "Thank you to all businesses that applied. We hope these grants helped our small businesses and support their employees during this difficult time."

Union County received requests that were in excess of available funding. No more applications will be accepted at this time. If you have questions, please contact us via email.

Union County Back to Business Grant Program logoUnion County Government is pleased to provide our local small businesses the opportunity to apply for grant funding to remain open during these trying economic times.

The County has set aside $1 million to help small and micro-businesses with challenges accessing capital to continue to run their businesses as COVID-19 continues to negatively impact the local economy. Funding will be available until November 30, 2020 or until all funds have been disbursed to approved applicants.

The program will provide one-time grants of up to $25,000 to qualified businesses with 50 or less employees to help offset the significant, temporary loss of revenue to these qualified businesses during this pandemic and to assist businesses in retaining and paying employees.

Funding amounts are based on the numbers of full or part-time employees as of January 1, 2020.

  • Business with 0-5 full time or part-time employees are eligible for a $10,000 grant.
  • Business with 6-25 full time or part-time employees are eligible for a $15,000 grant.
  • Business with 26–50 full time or part-time employees are eligible for a $25,000 grant.

How to Apply

How do I apply?

No more applications are being accepted at this time. We have had an overwhelming response to the Back to Business Grant Program. Union County received requests that were in excess of available funding. If you have questions, please contact us via email.

Eligibility FAQ

Which businesses qualify for this funding?

Small businesses in Union County that have suffered significant, temporary loss of revenue, business interruption or job losses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic particularly businesses that have been directly affected by the NC Executive Order 120 are eligible.

What businesses were impacted by NC Executive Order 120?

Barber shops, beauty salons, hair salons, nail salons/manicure/pedicure providers, tattoo parlors, tanning salons, massage therapists (except medical massage), entertainment facilities without a retail or dining component (including but not limited to: bingo parlors and bowling alleys), indoor exercise facilities (e.g., health clubs, fitness centers and gyms), indoor/outdoor pools, live performance venues, movie theaters, skating rinks and spas (including health spas).

My company is based outside of Union County, but I am a Union County resident. Am I eligible to apply?

Only businesses headquartered within Union County are eligible.

Can I apply as an individual?

If you have your own company and you are a sole proprietor, you are eligible to apply. If you do not have a business that was established prior to January 2020 you are not eligible.

I own multiple businesses. Can I apply for more than one business?

No, you may not apply for multiple businesses that you own.

I own a business with several locations, can I apply for every location?

You may only submit one application for all locations in Union County.

I own a franchise in Union County. Am I eligible to apply?

If you own multiple franchise locations in Union County, you may only submit one application.

Are all types of businesses and industries eligible to apply?

No. Nonprofit organizations, liquor stores, check cashing agencies, gun shops, pawn shops and adult entertainment businesses and publicly traded companies are NOT eligible for this program.

Are there revenue requirements for this program?

Your business revenue for 2019 must have been between $30,000 and $2,000,000.

My company’s revenues were higher than $2 million in 2019 but will be lower in 2020. Am I eligible to apply?

No, your business revenue for 2019 must have been between $30,000 and $2,000,000.

I had more than 50 employees in 2019 but, due to COVID-19, I now have less. Am I eligible?

No. These grants are for businesses with 50 or fewer employees prior to COVID-19. Your W-3 must show 50 or fewer employees to be eligible.

What if I own my own business, but have no employees?

As long as you meet all of the other eligibility requirements, you may still apply for a grant. As the business owner (or owners in the case of a partnership) you are considered the sole employee(s).

Do sole proprietors qualify?

Yes, sole proprietors may qualify to receive a grant.

Can I apply if my business was deemed nonessential?

Companies that were deemed non-essential under the statewide stay at home order and the county’s stay at home order and forced to close are eligible for the grants, provided they meet other criteria. If your business is not specifically mentioned as non-essential in these documents, but you were forced to close, you will likely qualify for a grant as long as you provide the required affidavit stating the economic impact realized due to COVID-19.

Are realtors registered as S-Corps with their home address as a business location eligible?

Realtors may qualify.

Are commercial and residential landlords eligible for this grant?


Are churches eligible for this grant?

Churches are not eligible for this grant program.

I received a Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program Loan, a North Carolina Golden Leaf Grant and/or a Union County Microbusiness Stabilization Fund Loan. Is my business eligible to apply?

Yes. Businesses that received funding from any of the programs noted above are welcome to apply for the grant opportunity. Grants are not guaranteed.

Additional FAQ

What is the purpose of the Union County Back to Business Grant Program?

To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Union County small businesses and their employees, Union County is providing emergency financial support through the Union County Back to Business Grant Program that is targeted at qualified small businesses with 50 or less employees that are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to Stay at Home Orders.

Will every business that applies receive a grant?

No, we predict demand to exceed available funds. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received. Grants will be awarded to applicants that meet the criteria until the funds have been fully distributed.

Where did the funds for this program come from?

The grants program was created through federal funds and provided to Union County through the CARES Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

Am I responsible for paying the funding back?

No, awards will be grants, not loans. There will be no repayment requirement.

Is the grant taxable to the business and/or its owners?

Businesses selected to receive a grant will be issued a Form 1099-MISC and should consult their accountant or other tax advisor to determine whether the grant is taxable.

Are the funds restricted for specific uses?

Yes, funds are required to be used for any of these five purposes:

  • Business rent/mortgage
  • Business utilities
  • Owner/Employee salaries/benefits
  • Working Capital
  • COVID-19 Compliance for worker or customer safety

Will I have to document how the funds were utilized?

Yes, you will be required to respond to a survey documenting how the funds were utilized. The survey will be sent in November or December 2020.

Can I count part-time employees in my employee head count?

Yes, however, part-time employees must be covered under the IRS Form W-3.

If I’m approved, how quickly will I receive assistance?

Complete applications with all required documentation will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Payments will be disbursed within 14 business days of notification of approval if required banking information is received in a timely manner. Please be advised that no one is guaranteed to receive a grant, and no one has a property right or legal explanation of receipt of funds.

Union County is committed to helping small businesses in need of aid as quickly as possible. Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic to the local community, we anticipate a high volume of requests.

What is the application deadline?

Union County Back to Business Grant Program began accepting applications beginning on September 11, 2020. The application period will close when all grant funds have been awarded or reallocated, but no later than November 30, 2020.

I utilize contractors for my business and issue them 1099 tax documents. Do they count toward my 1-50 FTE Employees?

No, only regular employees (reported on W-2s) count toward your maximum of 50 full-time equivalent employees.

Must a small business enter into a Grant Agreement to use these funds?

The grant application, if approved and signed by the county, shall serve as the grant agreement and shall be binding upon the applicant as a contract.

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