About the Program

The City of Laurel Department of Economic and Community Development (Laurel ECD) will administer the Laurel Smart Move Small Business Grant Program. 

The goals of this Program include:

  1. To provide financial support to businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  2. To support new business startups in order to fill commercial, office, and industrial vacancies within the City of Laurel that are due to the COVID-19 pandemic  

Funds to support this program are provided locally through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), via the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a first-come, first served basis. Submission of an incomplete or inaccurate application may result in ineligibility. Please read all grant terms and application instructions before starting and submitting your application. One application per business entity is accepted.

 

Grant Amount

This Program will award grants in the amount of $5,000 to $15,000 to businesses starting up or relocating to the City of Laurel. The total fund dedicated to this Program is $200,000.

Funds to support this program are provided locally through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), via the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

 

Grant Terms

The City of Laurel will provide grants in the amount of $5,000 to $15,000 to small businesses that are starting up or relocating to a commercial, office, or industrial space within the City of Laurel incorporated boundaries.

The grants shall only be used to cover eligible costs that are covered under “Use of Funds”. The determination as to whether the proposed use of funds by any applicant are eligible for funds from this grant shall be determined by the City of Laurel in its sole judgment, based upon applicable criteria, and is not appealable. The following constitutes examples of generally eligible and ineligible funds, though the City retains the right to determine otherwise based upon the facts of any application:

  • Use of Funds
    • Lease payments for a commercial, office, or industrial location to be used as the primary business location
    • Moving costs (e.g. truck rental, professional movers)
    • Connection and transfer of new utility services
    • Installation costs of equipment required for the business (but not the equipment itself)
    • Interior remodeling of the new location (e.g. painting, lighting, flooring, bathroom renovation)
    • Exterior and window signage
    • Other moving incidentals
    • Professional, engineering, architectural, and permit fees

 

  • Ineligible Expenses
    • Exterior renovations
    • Furniture
    • Artwork and decor
    • Specialized equipment required for the business
    • Point of sale (POS) systems
    • Office equipment (e.g. computers, monitors, printers, scanners)
    • Security systems
    • Software costs
    • Payroll expenses

Eligibility

In order for a business to be eligible it must fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Startup - A new startup business
  2. Relocate - A relocating business
  3. Expand - An expanding business that is opening up an additional location

The business must also be able to demonstrate how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the need for the startup, relocation, or expansion of the business. This can be achieved by one or more of the following ways:

  1. The business is able to demonstrate a loss of revenue starting in March 2020 that necessitates the need to downsize to a smaller location or relocate to a location with lesser monthly lease expenses
  2. The business is able to demonstrate a change in their business operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic that necessitates relocation
  3. The business is able to demonstrate how the products or services that are offered are directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic
  4. The commercial, office, or industrial location was unable to secure a tenant during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 to current) or became vacant during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 to current)

 

Ineligible Business Types or Persons

  • Houses of Worship
  • Banks and Financial Institutions
  • Food Trucks
  • Corporate-Owned Franchises
  • Businesses in which City Staff and/or elected officials of the City have a financial interest of at least 25%

 

Eligible Locations

  • The business must be locating to a space within the City of Laurel incorporated boundaries
  • The location must be zoned as one of the following:
    • C-N – Commercial Neighborhood
    • C-C – Commercial Community
    • C-G – Commercial General
    • C-SH – Commercial Shopping Center
    • C-V – Commercial Village
    • C-VAC – Commercial Village Activity Center
    • O-B – Office Building
    • O-B-E – Office Building
    • I-CS – Industrial Commercial Services
    • I-G – Industrial General
    • I-RTP – Industrial Research and Technology Park
  • The business must have a current signed leasing contract or a letter of intent to lease the location for three (3) years at the time of application
  • The business must have an official signed leasing contract for a period of  three (3) years within 30 days of receiving an grant approval letter

 

Additional eligibility requirements:

  • If the business is already established (relocation or expansion):
    • The business must obtain a City of Laurel Use and Occupancy permit within 6 months of signing the Smart Move Grant Funding Agreement
    • The business must have at least one full-time employee currently on the payroll
    • The business must be in good standing with the State of Maryland
    • The business and all business owners must be current on all City, County, State, and Federal tax payments
  • If the business is not already established (startup):
    • The business must obtain a City of Laurel Use and Occupancy permit within 6 months of signing the Smart Move Grant Funding Agreement
    • The business must be registered with the State of Maryland before applying for a Smart Move grant
    • The business must have at least one full-time employee on the payroll once open for business
    • All business owners must be current on all City, County, State, and Federal tax payments
    • The Applicant is not engaged in any illegal activity (as defined by Federal guidelines)

 

Application Instructions

  • Please read all eligibility requirements thoroughly before beginning your application.
  • The application may not be updated after submission. Please make sure your application is correct and complete before submitting.
  • Only one application submission per business entity will be considered.
  • Submission of an incomplete and/or inaccurate application may disqualify a business from being awarded funding. Please check your application for completeness and accuracy before submitting.
  • Review the Application Deadlines written below. No applications will be accepted after the deadline.
  • Applications must be submitted through the online application portal
  • If assistance is needed with the application, please contact ECD@Laurel.md.us

 

Application Deadlines

Applications will be accepted beginning Monday January 3, 2022 at 9:00 am.

The deadline to apply will be Friday July 1, 2022 at 11:59 pm.

Applications will only be accepted electronically through the online application portal. One application per business entity will be accepted.

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Submission of an incomplete or inaccurate application may result in ineligibility. If you have any questions regarding this grant opportunity, please email ECD@Laurel.md.us