Hillsborough County’s Small Business Financial Assistance Program Expands

August 20, 2020

By: Staff Report

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – To best serve the largest number of Hillsborough County businesses impacted by the sustained COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the County’s Rapid Response Recovery Program (R3) is being reformatted so that even more businesses can qualify for assistance.

There is still plenty of funding available through the R3 program, but the County will pause taking applications at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 20, so that the application portal can be redesigned with the new criteria.

The program will open Phase 4 for applications with new criteria on August 31.

Through the first three phases of the program, Hillsborough County has been working with more than 3,000 small businesses on requests for nearly $32 million in direct funding under the County’s R3 program.

The program aims to soften the protracted economic injury the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on the small business community. The County is taking lessons learned during the first three phases of the Economic Recovery financial assistance program to develop a Phase 4 application period. Phase 4 is designed to expand access to more businesses and increase award amounts, simplify qualifications, and make applications easier. Some of the Phase 4 program changes include:

  • Increasing awards to up to $40,000 for operational/working capital expenses to provide an immediate infusion of capital to local small businesses with between $40,000 and $20 million in annual revenue 
  • Basing awards on the size of the small business, with tiers based on the number of employees 
  • Expanding eligibility to businesses established before Jan. 1, 2020

The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners approved the revised R3 Kickstart Small Business Financial Assistance Program payment amounts at their Aug. 20, 2020 meeting. The County will release full information on the updated program criteria and guidelines for Phase 4 of the R3 Kickstart Small Business Financial Assistance Program on HCFLGov.net/R3Biz prior to August 31.

How Existing Applications and Awards Are Impacted by Phase 4

  • Small businesses that have already been approved and paid will automatically receive a supplemental award equal to the amount they would have received under Phase 4 guidelines.
  • All applications under review from Phases 1-3 will have their award amounts automatically determined based on the more favorable Phase 4 scale.
  • Applicants who were denied in Phases 1-3 but may now qualify under the Phase 4 criteria can simply resubmit their existing application after August 31                                                   

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