Mayor Wu Announces Impact of Small Business Relief Fund 2.0

Over 1,000 small, local businesses have received grant funding

Mayor Michelle Wu today announced the impact of the City of Boston’s Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF) 2.0. Building on her commitment to supporting local, diverse, small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing our local economic recovery,  the SBRF 2.0 has awarded $12.8 million in grant funding to 1037 small business owners to date across all neighborhoods of Boston. The program was funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

“Our small business owners have faced so many challenges during the pandemic while continuing to serve our communities,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m grateful to City Council partners for supporting this important work and providing critical resources to our small businesses. As we focus our local economic recovery on building a thriving, inclusive and equitable economy, we will continue to support our small businesses as anchors across our neighborhoods.”

The SBRF 2.0 program provided relief funding of up to $10,000 for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to be used for rent, inventory, and other fixed expenses. To aid in our local economic recovery, businesses could also apply for up to $10,000 in growth funding to help grow or expand their business. These funds could be used for tools and technology, materials and personnel, and other costs associated with investing in the growth of the business. 

“The SBRF 2.0 was a critical resource for helping our small business community both survive the surge of the Omicrom variant of COVID-19, and be placed in a better position to grow and expand as we rebuild our economy,” said Segun Idowu, Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion. “I am grateful to our small business team, whose tireless efforts have helped stabilize so many of our local companies, and am deeply appreciative to Mayor Wu and the Boston City Council for their swift action in supporting this program.” 

Small businesses located in Boston were eligible to apply for this program, with priority given to industries most directly affected by closures, policies, or general loss of revenue related to COVID-19. These industries include food service and restaurants, hospitality,  barber shops and beauty salons, retail storefronts, arts and entertainment,  tourism, fitness, and daycare.

Fulfilling the Mayor’s commitment to equity, the percentage of diverse business owners who received funding includes 68% minority-owned, 58% woman-owned, and 18% immigrant-owned businesses. The average grant award combined both relief and growth funding of $12,520 per business.

Breakdown of SBRF 2.0 grant recipients by neighborhood as of July 2022

The SBRF 2.0 program is administered by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion’s Small Business Unit.  The program initially launched in September 2021. In January 2022, Mayor Wu pledged an additional $5 million to replenish the program with the support of the Boston City Council. 

“I am proud of the work of our team to provide these crucial funds to our small business community, which has remained resilient throughout the pandemic,” said Aliesha Porcena, Director of Small Business. “As we close out this fund, I am excited to increase programming and continue to support our small businesses across the City.” 

“We were happy to receive the grant,” said Leon and Clarissa Egreton, owners of Frugal Bookstore in Nubian Square. “The grant made it possible for us to hire an additional employee. It also helped us to keep current with our vendors.”

The Small Business Unit (SBU) continues to provide critical resources for Boston’s small business community. Following the SBRF 2.0 program, the City will partner with business service organizations to provide technical assistance and long-term planning support to small businesses beyond the grant. The SBU continues to operate an annual Technical Assistance program to provide free workshops and matching small businesses with business experts to assist with accounting, legal services, marketing, business planning, and more. The SBU also administers the ReStore Boston program to preserve and improve business facades and storefronts. 

For more information about small business resources, to connect with a Neighborhood Business Manager, or to sign up for the City’s Small Business newsletter, visit https://www.boston.gov/small-business.