Smart Biz Micro Grant

Smart Biz E-Commerce Micro Business Grant Guidelines

General Information on E-Commerce

According to a report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of businesses do not reopen following a disaster. Additionally, another 25% fail within one year. According to a new survey from Main Street America, 7.5 million small businesses will shut permanently if business disruption caused by Covid-19 continues unabated. North Miami’s estimated 3000 businesses are not immune to these threats. One of the key Center For Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for business survival during these challenging times is the need to shift from in person services to a digital platform. Yet according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, over 50% of small businesses still do not have a website or digital presence. 

Amidst the Zoom and virtual meeting focused market, businesses can no longer rely solely on in person traffic given the health safety concerns and the social distancing requirements. Yet 50% of small businesses do not have a website or social media presence. Fortunately, in this digital age there are many options businesses can take to reshape how they have always done things and adapt to this new normal. An online presence is more important in today’s market than ever. A smart resilient business is one that is able to adapt, embrace a greater digital presence and market its goods and services across a myriad of online platforms. The City of North Miami is to provide working capital to enable small businesses to invest in resources to bridge the digital divide, enable retention of jobs and give each business a fighting chance of survival now and in a post Covid-19 competitive market. The Smart Biz E-commerce Micro Business Grant is an e-commerce focused grant that will provide businesses with the digital tools needed to recover, adapt and thrive.

Qualified Expenditures

Our goal for this program is to help small businesses to expand their market reach by investing in greater hardware and software applications. In the age of technology, there are many innovative ways that business can offer their goods and services to an e-commerce online customer base. The following eligible items are permitted, based on business type:

Hardware:

  •  Computers
  • Printer, Scanner, Copier (All-in-one) 

Software:

  • Internet Service (1 year) Website – Turnkey website landing page package
  • Virus Protection
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Remote Client Software (Team Viewer)

Other Services:

Virtual Training courses (GoToMeeting, Zoom, other virtual meetings – Max 3 month service) Tech Support with set up and remote trouble shooting

The Process

The following identifies the steps in the application process:

  1. The City will make continuous efforts for public outreach. 
  2. All information will be placed on the Community Planning and Development website and related websites. It will also be marketed through NoMi TV (Comcast: Channel 77, U-Verse: Channel 99) and all city social media outlets 
  3. Grant application checklist:
    • Grant application 
    • Certificate of Use or Business Tax receipt
    • Proof of eligibility based on all listed requirements below.
    • Verification of the number of employees (i.e. payroll sheets) 
  4. Once the applications are received, it will go through the following review process:
    1. CP&D staff review for accuracy
    2. Application deemed complete
    3. Selection and assignment of local IT company who will work with applicant to order and assist with set-up of hardware and software
    4. Execution of grant agreement
    5. Follow-up meeting and Notice to Proceed by CP&D staff f
    6. Grant monitoring by CDBG-Meeting National Objective

Funding Sources

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will fund implementation of the Smart Biz E-commerce Micro Business Grant. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant will be administered through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) Program. Other funding sources will be identified through ongoing grant opportunities.

Program Limits & Requirements

Funding Limit: The City has allocated $15,000 to the Smart Biz E-commerce Micro Business Grant. Subsequently, the maximum amount allocated to each business will be up to $1,500. Requirements & Scope: Participants must be a small business operating within the City of North Miami. Applicants of the Smart Biz Micro Grant Program shall comply with those provisions of the City’s local adopted codes re possessing a CU and BTR. For the purposes of this CDBG program, small businesses will be identified through the criteria established by Miami Dade County:

  1. Cannot have more than ten (10) employees
  2. Must not be part of a national chain or franchise
  3. Must not have received any CRA funding in the last five (5) years
  4. Can be non-profit or for-profit and must have been in business within North Miami for at least three (3) years (proof include old lease, incorporations, sales tax, income tax, or utility bill, BTR).
  5. Orders must be made through City approved IT vendor
  6. More than one application submitted for the same business, business owner, family member, or partners will not be considered
  7. Priority given to target industries (Healthcare, Medical Technology, Research, Restaurants, Hotels, Professional Services, Fitness, Arts/Entertainment, Industrial, Manufacturing)

Checklist

Please use this checklist to complete the application package: 

Proof of Qualified Business

(provide all of the following)

  • Payroll of all employees
  • Current City of North Miami Business Tax Receipt (BTR)
  • Current City of North Miami Certificate of Use (CU)
  • Letter of intent to include:
    • Inventory of current hardware/ software business has
    • Hardware/ software requested
    • Reason / need for request 

Fill the application on-line.