Facebook has announced a grant program for small businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The $100 million fund is comprised of cash grants and ad credits. It is estimated that up to 30,000 businesses could benefit.
Small businesses all the over the world have either closed for public safety or suffered revenue losses due to lockdowns. Facebook’s grant program aims to help these businesses cover operational costs such as staff wages and rent.
The grant will be available for businesses in over 30 countries where Facebook operates.
Businesses Eligible for the Facebook Grant
There are some basic requirements for small businesses to be eligible for the grant program. The first requisite is that the business must have between 2 and 50 employees. The second is that the business must have been operating for a minimum of one year.
Additional requirements include the business experiencing challenges due to the Covid-19 outbreak. These challenges obviously include problems caused by the loss of revenue due to forced closure.
Even essential businesses that have remained open face significant challenges during the lockdown. There are staff shortages due to some workers opting to self-isolate or remove themselves from unnecessary risk of exposure. This is happening in all sectors as there are many workers with pre-existing medical conditions. Others may live with older relatives or family members with medical conditions of their own. Continuing to work in such circumstances is a risk to them, if not as much to the worker themselves.
The term ‘challenges’ has been left purposefully vague as different businesses will be affected in different ways.
Eligible businesses must also be located in or near an area where Facebook operates. Facebook operates all over the United States as well as in over 30 countries around the world. Find out if your state is eligible by searching for your zip code on the Facebook Grant Availability list.
Terms of the Facebook Grant Program
The official Grant Program Terms should be read in full before an application is made. This is because the terms are a legal contract between the applying business and the program entities. The terms govern your application to and participation in the grant program via the program administrator’s website.
The terms detail the eligibility requirements as described above. They also state that all applicants must undergo a thorough background check. This check will ensure each applicant is not located in a country subject to comprehensive sanctions. Nor should any applicant be included on any denied party listing published by United States or European Union governmental authorities.
Facebook have also detailed which business activities their grant funds must not go towards. These include the sale of alcohol, tobacco or vaping products, recreational drugs or unsafe supplements. Other prohibited business activities include the sale of weapons, ammunition or explosives, adult products, cosmetic surgery or weight loss schemes.
There are also a number of services Facebook forbid their grant funds being used for. These include penny auctions, third-party infringement payday loans and paycheck advances. The grant funds must also not be used for any religious or political advertising.
There are many more terms that each applicant should be aware of. All applicants must thus read the Facebook Grant Terms in full before applying.
Facebook Grant Application Guide
Facebook published an application guide to help businesses take the initial steps towards applying for the grant. The first issue to consider is whether or not the grants are available in your area. Then you must check if your business is eligible according to its size and time spent serving the community.
If your business matches these two criteria, then it is time to gather your documents in preparation for the application.
The application is made through Ureeka, who Facebook are partnering with to administer the application process. Ureeka are a small business community who aim to democratize economic opportunity by enabling community business ventures. Their mission is to help small businesses grow and thus are well positioned to partner Facebook for this grant program.
All applications will be processed through Ureeka and they require one or more of the following documents:
- Federal employer identification number (FEIN). This is the unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to business entities operating in the United States.
- Partnership documents. These should have information such as contributions to the partnership and each partner’s authority. Allocation of profits and losses may also be included.
- Business license. There are local and state licenses depending on what type of goods your business deals in. There also federal-level business licenses, though usually for the selling of alcohol or firearms which are barred from the program.
- Proof of incorporation. This is usually a simple certificate relating to the formation of a company or corporation. It is issued by local or state government to confirm due incorporation and valid existence of a company.
- Official registration. Similar legal documents verifying the existence and official registration of a company as a business entity.
How to Apply
Once available, applications will be made through Ureeka’s website where the full Facebook Grant Terms are listed (linked above). The initial application process requires you to provide a brief summary of your business. You will also need to explain how you intend to use the cash grant.
Assuming a business is eligible, how the grant will directly affect their business or local community will be highly influential. It might be that the grant enables them to continue paying employees. Another good impact the grant may have is to enable the continuation of critical services through pick-up and delivery methods.
What Happens Next?
Every eligible business has two weeks to apply once applications become available in their area. Ureeka will then need a few weeks to review each application. There may also be follow-up questions they want to ask. The grant recipients will be announced once all the applications have been reviewed.