Small Business Stabilization Fund Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is this new round of funding for Stabilization Fund grants open to new applicants?


2. When are applications due?

Applications are due Monday,, November 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. We do not accept late applications.

3. How many people applied in the previous rounds, and how many grants did you fund?

In the first round, we received nearly 9,000 applications and had enough resources to fund 469 eligible applicants with $10,000 grants each.

4. What was the source of funding for the Stabilization Fund grants?

The Small Business Stabilization Fund is sourced by the City of Seattle General Fund and federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

5. What are the eligibility requirements?

Eligibility requirements for this funding include:

  • Business is located in Seattle city limits
  • 25 full-time equivalent employees (“FTEs”) or fewer as of March 2020
  • Annual net revenue does not exceed $2 million dollars reported in Business and Occupancy (B&O) taxes to the City of Seattle's Finance and Administrative Services Department
  • Valid City of Seattle business license
  • Business has no more than two locations
  • Minimum of 12 months in business as of November 9, 2020
  • Not a previous Small Business Stabilization Fund recipient
  • For-profit business or registered non-profit that specifically provides economic opportunity through education or job training programs 
    • Farmers Market Vendors are eligible to apply are required to provide the address  of farmers market they sell at
  • Business operates from a physical location (except for creative industries and food trucks)
  • Businesses that limit clientele to 18 years and older are eligible except for those regulated as “adult entertainment” businesses under Seattle Municipal Code 6.270

6. What businesses are NOT eligible to apply?

Businesses that do not meet all listed qualifications are ineligible including nonprofit organizations that do not provide economic opportunities through education programs and/or job training, franchises, chains, or businesses regulated as “adult entertainment” businesses under Seattle Municipal Code 6.270 are ineligible.

7. How are qualified awardees selected?

Business prioritization  

At least two-thirds of grants will be allocated at random to businesses meeting both of the following criteria. 

  1.  Located in a census tract that is either high displacement risk (based on the Displacement Risk Index) or a census tract categorized as highest or second-highest disadvantage on the Racial and Social Equity Index. See attached map.   
  2. Business size. 1-5 FTE  

The remaining one-third of grants will then be allocated at random to a pool of all applicants regardless of geography or FTE.   

Inclusive Creative Industries 

24 grants (10 percent of the grants) will go to inclusive creative industries (ICI). Creative businesses will undergo the same prioritization criteria. The application will include a question to identify creative businesses 

Please select “creative industries” sector if your business falls within: 

  • Film (including immersive technology, multimedia [AR/VR/MR/XR/CGI/motion capture/gaming/animation], distribution)
  • Music (including musicians, music venues, recording studios, sound technicians, artist management, record labels, booking)
  • Nightlife  
  • Special events 
  • Photography 
  • Creative agencies (advertising, graphic design, content creation) 
  • Fashion, garment, and textiles
  • Literature (publishing, journalism, writing, copy editing) 

8. How do we know the businesses selected are actually eligible to receive funding?

Business owners will complete a series of questions that automatically determine if they are eligible for funding. OED will work with the department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) to verify documentation that is provided in the application.

9. Is the process of choosing awardees equitable and free of bias?

Yes. The City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development does not discriminate or disqualify business applicants based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, country of origin, disability, or other demographic categories.

10. How do you ensure that underrepresented and non-English speaking business owners have a fair chance of getting a grant?

  • OED is working with the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Department of Neighborhoods, community liaisons and other community partners to provide outreach and technical assistance to hard-to-reach business owners to inform them of the SBSF in advance of the application opening. Additionally, outreach and technical assistance will be provided during the application period.
  • OED will host two webinars on November 12 and November 18 to share information on how to successfully apply for the SBSF. Register for an informational webinar session here. 
  • OED has translated necessary application materials to ensure communities that speak languages other than English can have access to this resource Additionally, the OED resource team provides in-language technical assistance to small business owners.

11. How much money will businesses receive?

Grants are awarded in the amount of $10,000.

12. What can the grant be used for?

Grant money may only be used for the operating expenses of the awarded business. The operating expenses are defined as the day-to-day trading operations of the business such as covering payroll and rent.

13. Why do businesses have to share financial information?

OED collects owner household income information to ensure our financial support goes to business owners who meet the federal income restrictions for CDBG funding. OED also collects a description of the business's monthly operating expenses. This important data helps us understand the ongoing operating needs of small businesses, how far our $10,000 grant will support them, and the potential need for additional financial support from other sources.

14. Are applications and financial records subject to public disclosure?

Generally, application materials are subject to public disclosure. However, Washington state law allows for certain personal and financial information to be withheld from disclosure in order to protect the privacy of the applicants.

15. Can business who were awarded funding in the first three rounds of the Stabilization Fund reapply for this Stabilization Fund grants?

No. Businesses awarded grants in the first three rounds of the Stabilization Fund will not be eligible for this round.

16. If a business needs cash now, are there any additional resources?

In addition to the City's Small Business Stabilization Fund, there are a number of state, federal, and philanthropic resources available to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. OED is offering technical assistance for businesses applying for the above resources; click here to learn more.

17. What are the examples of mobile businesses?

Examples of mobile businesses that would not require a physical brick and mortar location for this grant include but are not limited to:

  • Farmers market vendors
  • Caterers
  • Food trucks
  • Personal trainers
  • Cleaning services
  • Junk removal
  • Moving services

Please remember all applicants MUST have an up to date City of Seattle business license. You can check the status of your business license here

18. What classifies as a Creative Industry business?

Examples of Creative Industry businesses that would not require a physical brick and mortar location for this grant include but are not limited to:

  • Film (including immersive technology, multimedia [AR/VR/MR/XR/CGI/motion capture/gaming/animation], distribution, exhibition)
  • Music (including musicians, music venues, recording studios, sound technicians, artist management, record labels, booking)
  • Nightlife
  • Special events
  • Photography
  • Creative agencies (advertising, graphic design, content creation)
  • Fashion, garment, and textiles
  • Literature (publishing, journalism, writing, copy editing)

19. Does Creative Industry businesses include individual artists?

Individual artist are Creative Industry businesses and are eligible for the fund.

20. What if family members work at my business, would I include them as FTE?

If family members are on payroll, then you would include them as FTE.

21. What if my business had more than 25 FTE on March 1, 2020, but had to reduce my staffing before 25 FTE due to the pandemic. Is my business eligible?

Businesses who had more than 25 FTE on March 1, will not qualify. Your business must have 25 or less FTE.

22. If I’m required to have a minimum of 12 months in business, is there a cut off date of when I should have begun operations?

Businesses who begun operations November 9, 2019 meet the 12-month minimum.

23. My business is currently close due to COVID, am I eligible to apply?

Businesses who had to close due to COVID are still eligible to apply, as long as they meet the other requirements and have an active Seattle business license.

24. If I am a car sharing driver (i.e. Uber/Lyft), am I eligible?

Car sharing drives are not eligible.

25. Are daycares eligible?

Yes, daycares are eligible.

26. If my employees are now teleworking, does that count as an additional location?

No, employees who are working remotely does not contribute to an additional location.

27. What is the breakdown of the primary categories?

Administrative services (admin support services)
Agriculture or natural resources (forestry management, farming, mining, fishing)
Business services (legal, accounting, marketing, consulting for businesses)
Childcare or daycare
Construction or heavy site work (contractors, heavy civil, residential)
Educational services (training, distance learning)
Finance, insurance, or real estate (banks, investment banks, insurance brokerages, real estate brokerages)
Government (local, state, federal government)
Healthcare (medical offices, clinics, nursing homes, massage therapists, dentists)
Hospitality (hotels)
Creative industries (film; nightlife; special events; photography; advertising, graphic design, content creation; fashion, garment, and textiles; literature, publishing, journalism, copy editing)
Food services: restaurants
Food services: bars or taverns
Life sciences or biotech (research and development, pharmaceuticals, medical devices)
Manufacturing: aerospace (aerospace suppliers)
Manufacturing: food and beverage production (food producers, seafood processing, breweries, wineries, distilleries)
Manufacturing: maritime (ship and boat building and repair)
Manufacturing: other
Personal services (beauty, fitness, childcare, dry cleaning, personal or consumer services)
Print publishing or other information (newspapers, magazines, book publishing, movie production)
Professional or technical services (architecture firms, engineering firms)
Retail: store
Retail: nonstore or e-commerce
Social services (institutional food services, housing, emergency services, social work)
Software, cloud-based products and services, or telecommunications (software, cloud competing, internet providers, telecom providers)
Transportation or warehousing (trucking, rail, freight forwarding, airlines, warehousing, ground transportation, couriers)
Transportation: waterborne (cruises, water-based tours, cargo)
Waste services (waste management)
Wholesalers, wholesale merchants

28. What my business applied in March 2020, do I need to reapply for Round 4 of the Small Business Stabilization Fund? 

Businesses who applied in March 2020 need to reapply for Round 4 of the Small Business Stabilization Fund.  

29. When will the Small Business Stabilization Fund lottery be conducted and when will businesses be notified by?

The Small Business Stabilization Fund lottery of all eligible applicants will be conducted December 1, 2020. Selected businesses for the grant will be notified by January 29, 2021. 

30. What if I could not find my business in the top search bar? 

If you could not find your business in the top search bar, try refreshing the page and searching for your business. 

If you cannot find your business after refreshing the page, your business may not be registered with the Washington Department of Revenue or have a Seattle Business License. Click here to search for your Seattle Business License Tax Certificate Number and Uniform Business Identifier (UBI) number. Once you've found your UBI and City customer number we still invite you to apply for the grant. 

You can still apply for the grant, please manually enter your business and contact information into the application.

31. How does OED conduct the lottery for the Small Business Stabilization Fund?

With guidance from the Mayor's Office and City Council, OED conducted a fair and legitimate lottery that involved the following considerations:

  1. First, all eligible businesses with a complete grant application were assigned a lottery ranking using a random number generator. Among other requirements, eligible businesses must have a valid Seattle business license and a physical location in Seattle city limits (not required for mobile businesses, food trucks, and creative industry businesses).
  2. 129 grants are funded through the Federal CDBG program. Eligible businesses must meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of a microenterprise, which states that the business must have five employees or fewer, including the owner. The business must also show financial need if it previously received federal funding in 2020.
  3. 108 grants are funded through the City's General Fund and are available to businesses with at most 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and nonprofits. OED will fund at least 24 businesses from the creative industry (10 percent of all businesses funded) and up to 20 nonprofits.
  4. OED also prioritizes businesses geographically. Two-thirds of grants will go to businesses in areas of high displacement risk and highest disadvantage as measured, respectively, on the City's Displacement Risk Index and Racial and Social Equity Index.

With those criteria in mind, OED received and assigned a random lottery ranking to more than 4,000 applications. Our staff is diligently contacting businesses and hopes to complete our work on all 237 grants by end of January.

32. My business recieved a Small Business Stabilization Fund, how will I recieve my 1099? 

The City of Seattle Finance and Administrative Services mailed 1099s to the addresses listed on W-9 at the end of January. This does not include C corps, S corprs, or nonprofits. For businesses that did not recieve or misplace their 1099s, please contact Kim Roberts at for an emailed copy. 

Questions? Email or call (206) 684-8090.