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 3,000 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 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. 

The COVID-19 pandemic that affected the nation back in 2020, created a wave of health and safety concerns that affected residents, but had a huge impact on small businesses across the US. Major enterprises and microbusinesses were all faced with major challenges and were forced to find alternative ways to conduct business. Today, technology has revolutionized the way we conduct business today, reshaping every aspect from communication to operations. 

Businesses can now reach global audiences, conduct transactions online, and collaborate remotely with ease. Automation and data analytics have streamlined processes, allowing for greater efficiency and informed decision-making. Additionally, advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning have enabled personalized customer experiences and predictive insights. Overall, technology has accelerated the pace of business, facilitated innovation and drove growth in virtually every industry. 

The City of North Miami believes that a smart resilient business is one that can adapt, embrace a greater digital presence, and market its goods and services across a myriad of online platforms. The city is committed to continue to provide working capital to small businesses that will enable them to invest in resources to bridge the digital divide, enable retention of jobs and give each business an opportunity to adapt to the new ways of conducting business through the Smart Biz E-Commerce Micro Business Grant focused on providing businesses with the digital tools needed to thrive.

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 set aside $143,000 to relaunch the Smart Biz E-commerce Micro Business Grant. Subsequently, businesses can be awarded up to a max amount of $5,000 depending upon the qualifying tier. The program tiers are:

  1. Smart Biz E-Commerce
    • Maximum Award Amount is up to $2,500
    • Active North Miami Business prior to March 2020 
  2. Smart Biz E-commerce Advance
    • Maximum Award Amount is up to $3,750
    • Active North Miami Business at minimum 5+ years 
  3. Smart Biz E-commerce Advance+
    • Maximum Award Amount is up to $5,000
    • Active North Miami Business at minimum 7+ years

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 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. Cannot be a home based or mobile business
  4. Can be non-profit or for-profit and must have been in business within North Miami prior to March 2020. Proof of business may include, lease agreement, proof of incorporation, sales tax, income tax, utility bill, CU & BTR.
  5. Orders must be made through City approved information technology vendor
  6. Businesses previously awarded a CDBG-CV grant may apply and qualify for an amount not to exceed the difference of the previous award amount and qualified tier.
  7. No more than one application submitted by the same business, business owner, family member, or partners will be considered.
  8. Must provide business's Unique Entity ID (UEI). This 12-character alphanumeric value provided by the System for Award Management (sam.gov) is required to apply for this grant. To register your business and obtain a UEI, please register here.

Qualified Expenditures

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

Hardware

  • Computers
  • Printer, Scanner, Copier (All-in-one) 
  • Touchless Point of Sale (POS)

Software

  • Internet Service (one year) Website – Turnkey website landing page package
  • Virus Protection
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Remote Client Software (Team Viewer)
  • Touchless POS Software (One year plan)

Other Services:

Virtual Training Courses (GoTo Meeting, Zoom, and other virtual meeting platforms – Max. 3 month service) Tech Support with set up and remote trouble shooting.

The Process

The following identifies the steps in the application process.

Applicants

Applicant must have the following prior to submitting grant application:

  1. Verification of the number of employees (i.e. payroll sheets) 
  2. Current Certificate of Use (CU) and Business Tax Receipt (BTR)
  3. Business Unique Entity ID (UEI).To register your business and obtain a UEI, please register here
  4. Letter of intent to include:
    • Inventory of current hardware/ software business has
    • Hardware/ software requested
    • Reason / need for request

All of the steps above must be completed prior to applying for this grant. Apply here.

City Review

The submitted application will go through the following review process:

  1. Economic Development staff reviews for accuracy and completion.
  2. Applicant(s) will be notified of the approval or denial of their application.
  3. Selection and assignment of local information technology company procured by the City to work with applicant, order and assist with setup of hardware and software. 
  4. Execution of grant agreement. 
  5. Follow-up meeting and Notice to Proceed by Economic Development staff.


If you need assistance, please contact: 

John Lorfils, MBA, FRA-RA, Economic Development & Strategic Initiatives Director
Email Economic Development Department
Phone: 305-893-6511, Ext.19052