Safety First Small Business Grant Program FAQs

Round 2 of the Recover Manatee Safety First Small Business Grant Program is designed for Manatee County’s small businesses that have been severely impacted by the Governor’s Safer at Home Order to assist in reopening safely for their employees and customers and recover from the losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is intended to assist ALL eligible Manatee County small businesses with 500 or fewer full time equivalent (FTE) employees, and by providing two levels of grant funding.

The first $5,000 is to be used to help the business re-open and remain open safely. An additional amount up to $45,000 may be applied for in order to reimburse documented businesses losses incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19).

These grants will support continuity of business operations by ensuring businesses can reopen and ensure the safety of their employees and customers by adhering to CDC recommended guidelines.

If you are unable to access the Internet or have a language barrier, please call 3-1-1 for assistance with completing the grant application.



What type of businesses are eligible for the grant?

Eligible small business categories are allowed from all industry sectors.

What are the requirements to be eligible to apply for the grant?

Businesses that meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • Has recorded losses related to the Governor’s Safer at Home Order;
  • 500 employees or less (documented using IRS Form 941 (943, 944), OR Partnership Return, OR Sole Proprietor Statement)
  • Home-based and mobile businesses are also eligible
  • Located in Manatee County (all municipalities are included)
  • Not operating as a nonprofit, or not-for-profit located in Manatee County (Please see: CARES ACT FUNDING FOR NONPROFITS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS)
  • Can provide proof of business operations
    • Registered with the State of Florida, OR can provide DOR filing, OR can provide IRS Form 941 (943, 944), IRS Form W3, IRS Form 1120, IRS Form 1065, IRS Form 1040, Sole Proprietor Statement, Sunbiz filings, OR professional license

My business is located in Manatee County, but I am a resident of another county, am I eligible?

Yes. This is a grant program meant to assist small businesses located in Manatee County and municipalities within the County. The small business address must be in Manatee County in order to be eligible for the grant.

Are independent contractors eligible to receive grant funds?

Yes. Home-based and mobile businesses are eligible.

I am a sole proprietor/the only person working in my business, am I eligible?

Yes. Self-employed individuals that are properly registered with the State of Florida or provided the Sole Proprietor Employee Statement, and qualify for the other requirements of this grant, are eligible.

What is the definition of “employee” for this program?

An employee is defined as an individual who receives a paid wage or salary which employment taxes (e.g. FICA, FUTA) and income taxes are withdrawn and remitted to the IRS, as evidenced by business tax returns filed. Businesses applying for this grant may not have more than five hundred (500) employees.

My small business operates a franchise. Do I qualify for the grant program?

Yes, if all other criteria are met. However, corporate franchise sites do not qualify unless their headquarters is located in Manatee County and all other qualifications apply. (Each franchise location would have to apply separately– two locations maximum).

I own several small businesses. Are all my businesses eligible for the grant program?

Owners with multiple businesses located in Manatee County may apply for a maximum of two grants. A sole proprietor of an eligible business may apply for one entity only, if a social security number is provided as a business tax ID.

I have received funding from PPP, EIDL or other stimulus program. Do I qualify for this grant?

Yes, your business is eligible.

My business is new, so I don’t have any tax forms. Can I still apply?

A requirement of the grant is to show business loss. If you are able to document loss of revenue for a period after April 1, 2020, and qualify for all the other requirements, then you may apply.

I applied for the first round of the safety-first small business grant program. Am I eligible to apply for the second round too?

If your business was approved and received the grant from Round 1, you may still apply for the “reimbursement of business loss” up to $45,000. If you applied but did not get approved, you may apply for a maximum of $50,000 if all other criteria are met.


How is the business grant amount determined?

Qualified businesses will be able to apply for a grant of $5,000 (except Round 1 awardees); Every business will be able to apply for an additional grant of up to $45,000(reimbursement of documented business loss).

Funds will be awarded on a first come, first eligible, first served basis.


To assist Manatee small businesses in their recovery efforts, and in keeping with CARES Act guidelines, the first $5,000 may be used for re-opening and remaining open safely. Additionally, if your business is able to document your business loss due to the pandemic, you may be reimbursed up to $45,000. The grant application will require a profit-and-loss statement and affidavit of business loss.

Please email us at with specific questions.


Yes. All applicants will be required to complete the ONLINE P&L FORM to show their documented business loss from the date April1, 2020 through.

In addition, all applicants will be required to submit an Affidavit of Business Loss that matches the P&L online statement.

What is the timeline after I submit my completed application?

After submission, the application will be reviewed within 10 business days. Once approved, an email notification will be sent. The applicant will then receive the Agreement, which must be signed and returned. Once the Agreement is signed, and all information is verified, the application will be sent over for payment processing. Checks will be mailed to the MAIL TO address provided on the application. A completed application with all the required documents is the best way to ensure the timeliest turnaround. Submitting incomplete application will delay or even disqualify your request.

Where is this money coming from?

The funds for the Recover Manatee Safety First Small Business Grant Program are part of the County’s Federal CARES Act funding.


Note: Information and documentation submitted shall be considered Public Record.

What documents do I need in order to apply?

During the application process, you will be required to upload the following to the online portal:

  • Documentation of 500 employees or less (example: IRS Form 941, OR IRS Form 944, OR IRS Form 943, OR Partnership Return, OR Sole Proprietor Statement)
  • Proof of Active Business Status (example: Sole Proprietor Statement, IRS Forms 941, W3, or 1120, 1065, 1040, Florida Business registration, or Sunbiz documents) (sole proprietor statement - save to your computer and fill out/sign)
  • Affidavit of business loss - up to $45,000 (save PDF to your computer and fill out/sign)
  • Completed IRS W9 Form (Oct 2018)
  • Applicant Photo ID of Business Owner/Authorized Applicant (only one is needed – no substitutions)
    • Driver’s license
    • State ID
    • U.S. Passport
    • Alien Card
    • Military ID

What is the approval process?

Manatee County Government will evaluate the applicant’s documents to verify eligibility and completion. Applicants will be notified by email when their application has been approved or denied. If approved, an email will be sent to the applicant instructing them to sign the Agreement and other required documents via the online portal.

Is there a telephone number or email address to call for assistance?

Yes, to assist with questions regarding Recover Manatee Safety First Small Business Grant Program, assistance is available in English (and Spanish) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The telephone number is (941) 745-6271. This number will be available to call from Monday August 17, 2020. The email address is

Please do not call or email to check on the status of your request as this will slow down our process of approving and distributing assistance.

What else is Manatee County and its resource partners doing to support small businesses during the pandemic?

To continue supporting local businesses in Manatee County during the COVID-19 emergency, the local chambers of commerce and other business resource partners have established initiatives to encourage residents to support local businesses while practicing social distancing to minimize the spread of Coronavirus. Additionally, businesses that apply for this grant program are eligible to receive technical assistance for business planning, finance, marketing, emergency planning, and other areas through the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).