The application period for the Ready for Business Grant Program has closed. We are no longer accepting applications.
More information about the program is included below.
summary of grant distribution (as of 6/26/20):
- Companies approved: 11,391
- Grants awarded: more than $128 M
- Employee count of companies receiving grants:
- Full-time: more than 177 K
- Part-time: more than 45 K
- Business size and ownership:
- Less than 50 employees: 94.4%
- Minority-owned: 25.2%
- Women-owned: 33%
- Grants awarded to companies from all 75 counties
Updated May 4, 2020
Arkansas Ready for Business Grant Program
Ensuring the Health and Safety of Employees and Patrons
The program will provide direct grants to businesses for expenses associated with ensuring the health and safety of employees and patrons. The program will utilize federal funds provided to the State of Arkansas through the CARES Act.
Grant Program Guidelines:
- Eligible businesses include corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships (including independent contractors), LLCs, Joint Ventures and Non-profits (Government-owned entities are not eligible)
- All industry sectors are eligible
- Business must be in Good Standing with the AR Secretary of State’s Office; If not incorporated a business/professional license, sales tax permit, utility bill or bank statement in the name of the business is required
- Business and owners must NOT be delinquent on any Arkansas tax
- Businesses must either have a) customers and/or employees physically coming to their business premises or b) must conduct business on customer premises
- Applications will only be considered when a complete application is submitted with all required attachments.
- Required attachments: Driver’s License of authorized business representative, completed and signed W9, Certificate of Good Standing from Secretary of State (dated within last 30 days) or other documentation for unincorporated businesses as noted above.
- Grant amounts will be based on number of Arkansas W2 employees as of March 1, 2020:
- 1 FTE = up to a $1,000 grant
- 2+ FTEs = up to a $1,000 per FTE
- 1 Arkansas W2 full-time employee = 1 FTE; 1 Arkansas W2 part-time employees = .5 FTE
- Full-time employees must work an average of at least 30 hours per week.
- Owners working at least 30 hours per week who do not receive a W2 can be included.
- Part-time employees must work an average of at least 15 hours per week
- Example – 2 AR W2 full-time employees (2 FTEs) and 6 AR W2 part-time employees (3 FTEs) equals a grant of up to $5,000
- Maximum grant amount is $100,000; Maximum grant amount could be less depending upon number of applications and available funding
- Eligible expenditures include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and no-contact thermometers for employees and customers, no-contact Point of Sale (POS) payment equipment; supplies and disinfectants to initially deep clean premises and for use on an ongoing basis; also included are expenses associated with hiring a third party to perform periodic deep cleaning services, hand sanitizer stations, restocking of necessary supplies/raw materials, expenses associated with reconfiguring business to meet recommended health and safety guidelines, signage, marketing and other one-time expenses associated with reopening or resuming normal operations
- Eligible expenditures must be made between March 1, 2020 – December 30, 2020
- Businesses will be required to verify funds were used for eligible expenditures and shall be required to repay all or a portion of the grant if business is found not in compliance with grant requirements
- Businesses that have previously been awarded assistance through other AEDC programs or SBA programs are not prohibited from applying for the Ready for Business Grant Program
- At least 15% of the recipients will be women and minority owned businesses as defined by Arkansas Statute.
- At least 75% of the total funds disbursed will go to businesses with no more than 50 FTEs as defined above.
The Arkansas Ready for Business Grant Program is a discretionary incentive program offered by AEDC. Not all who apply for a grant will be approved. The information provided in this document is only a general summary of the program features and does not create any obligation by AEDC to provide a grant. AEDC reserves the right to adjust the terms of the grant based on the applicant’s individual circumstances. All grant recipients must enter into a grant agreement with AEDC which will set forth all the legal terms and conditions of the grant award.
Q: Did you receive my grant application?
A: If you completed and submitted your application by the deadline, you should have received a confirmation email from Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) sent on May 12 acknowledging receipt of your application. If you submitted your application on time but did not receive a confirmation email, please contact us at 501-682-1121 or [email protected].
Q: When will I receive my grant money?
A: The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) received over 12,000 applications for the Arkansas Ready for Business Grant Program. Our team is working diligently to review the applications in order to distribute funds to eligible applicants in a timely manner. Thank you for your patience as we conduct the application reviews and process the initial round of grant awards.
Q: What are eligible expenses that the grant money can be used for?
A: Grant funds are intended to help cover COVID-19-related costs of ensuring the health and safety of employees and patrons at Arkansas companies. Examples of eligible expenditures include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); no-contact thermometers for employees and customers; no-contact Point of Sale (POS) payment equipment; and supplies and disinfectants to initially deep clean premises and for use on an ongoing basis. Also included are expenses associated with hiring a third party to perform periodic deep cleaning services; hand sanitizer stations; restocking of necessary supplies/raw materials; expenses associated with re-configuring business to meet recommended health and safety guidelines; signage, marketing and other one-time expenses associated with reopening or resuming normal operations.
- One-time restocking of merchandise to get business operational again
- Installation of drive-thru windows and items necessary to get a drive-thru operational, such as headsets, additional register, etc.
- Vinyl/smooth surface furniture
- Vinyl/hard surface flooring
- Pressure washer
- Telework equipment and subscription service
- Takeout/to-go merchandise
- Website design/reconfiguration
- Outdoor seating
- Contactless equipment: doors, locks, gates, point-of-sale systems, and other equipment
- Carpet cleaning
- Paper towels
- Cleaning solutions
- Ozone generators, ozone meters, and dehumidifiers: only if documentation from CDC, WHO, EPA, or ADH can be provided stating it is effective in fighting COVID-19
- Hanging menus
- iPads (easy to sanitize)
- Signage pertaining to reopening or restructuring the business amid COVID-19
- Bleachable towels and bedding
- Supplies and furniture for classrooms to help with spacing out students
- Zip Wall (plastic sheet to separate contractors from clients inside their homes)
- Payment for third party licensed medical staff to perform daily COVID-19 screenings of employees
Q: What types of expenses cannot be paid for with my grant funds?
A: The grants are intended to help cover COVID-19-related costs of ensuring the health and safety of employees and patrons at Arkansas companies. The grants may be used for a one-time restocking expense but is not meant for ongoing purchases of supplies, other than sanitary supplies, PPE, etc. Examples of expenses that you cannot use the grant funds to pay for include payroll, rent, utilities, working capital, office equipment, general office supplies, and automobiles.
Q: How can I review the Ready for Business Grant Program Terms and Conditions?
A: You can review the Terms and Conditions here.
Q: How will I receive future updates about my grant status?
A: We will send email updates to you. Our email address is [email protected].
Q: Where can I find answers to questions about the tax status of my organization?
A: Please contact:
- Drew Smith, Department of Finance and Administration (DF&A)
- Phone: 501-682-3001
- Email: [email protected]
Q: How can we provide proof of our tax status after we have contacted DF&A?
A: After you have made the required back payments to DF&A, Arkansas Economic Development Commission will receive notification from DF&A and will contact you about the next steps in your application process.