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Oak City Biz Labs

Oak City Biz Labs is a first come, first served grant program that connects small businesses and entrepreneurs to technical assistance programs to help foster resilient and strategic business growth.

NOTICE: 

Oak City Biz Labs is currently closed—but stay tuned! The application for Round 2 opens at 10 a.m. on February 27 and will close at 11:59 p.m. on March 12. 

ABOUT THE

PROGRAM.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses of all sizes grappled with significant challenges to their operations and vitality, but small businesses have had the hardest time bouncing back. To help small businesses and entrepreneurs recover from the pandemic, Carolina Small Business Development Fund and the City of Raleigh are proud to offer Oak City Biz Labs, a technical assistance and grant program. 

For questions, email oakcitybizlabs@carolinasmallbusiness.org.

Oak City Biz Labs is a first come, first served grant program that connects small businesses and entrepreneurs to technical assistance programs to help foster resilient and strategic business growth.

The process is easy:

  1. Apply and submit the required business assessment linked within the application.

  2. Complete the recommended free technical assistance workshops, provided by Carolina Small Business Development Fund’s Digital Learning Academy.

  3. Receive and implement grant funding to support one’s small business.

Businesses must meet all eligibility requirements in order to participate in Oak City Biz Labs. Grant funds are distributed upon completion of both the program application and the required technical assistance courses.  

The application for Oak City Biz Labs is now closed.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

  • Prior Raleigh Relief Fund Recipients (year 2020) are eligible for Round 2 of Oak City Biz Labs. 

  • Business must be located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  

  • For-profit businesses, brick-and-mortar businesses, and businesses recovering foot traffic/commercial locations 

  • The effective date of the business formation or DBA in the case of sole proprietorships will need to be prior to January 2020. 

  • Not have annual revenues exceed $5,000,000 based on most recent business tax returns.  

  • At least 20% gross revenue reduction (compare 2020 tax return – or 2021 return with 2019 tax return as the baseline).

    • OR at least 15% gross revenue reduction (compare 2020 tax return – or 2021 return- with 2019 tax return as the baseline) AND the business had to suspend operating because of COVID-19 for at least 60 days.

      • If using 2020 tax return to show revenue impact, 2021 revenue still needs to be below the 2019 revenue level.   

  • Not have any active bankruptcies, tax liens, or judgements.

    • Note: For sole proprietorship or general partnership businesses, there can be no active personal bankruptcy, tax liens or judgements, or any active business bankruptcy.  

  • Businesses (i.e. LLC, C-Corp, and S-Corp) are separate entities and will be treated as such when determining eligibility.

    • If an owner or the business has outstanding/unresolved debt, that will result in ineligibility 

  • Business with 50 employees or fewer  

  • Business under common ownership with other businesses, with combined 50 employees or fewer.  

  • Not be delinquent on North Carolina State income taxes.  

  • No outstanding taxes to the City of Raleigh.  

  • Businesses that fall outside of the eligibility requirements outlined through the federal guidelines will be ineligible with no exceptions. These requirements include no judgements, liens, or other tax or debarment issues. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants will complete and submit a Need Assessment Form as part of the application and only those that complete the Technical Assistances Plans are eligible to receive grant funds. 

Ineligible businesses include:

  • Non-profits  

  • Real estate investment firms (real property is held for investment purposes)  

  • Lobbyists  

  • Home-Based Businesses 

  • Online Businesses 

  • Franchise Businesses 

  • Month-to-month booth or short-term “sublet” situations for example: chair rent, booth rent/salon suite/co-working, and other shared space agreements.  

  • Oak City Biz Labs Round 1 grant recipients   

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

It is important to gather these documents (and ensure that they are correct) prior to starting your application. Be sure that you are submitting PDFs or in jpg format without passwords or other restrictive security settings. If we are unable to open a file, your application will be disqualified. 

  • Completed grant application 
     

  • Statement describing how COVID-19 has adversely impacted the business with documentation  
     

  • Copy of valid/unexpired driver’s license or other government-issued identification per business owner
     

  • 2019 tax return as baseline, use either 2020 or 2021 Business Tax Returns 
     

  • Most recent Business Bank Statements (within the last 60 days)
     

  • Completed ACH form with your banking information including your routing, checking account numbers, and a copy of a voided check. Banking information must match the bank statement provided for the business. Funds will not be wired to non-business accounts. 
     

  • Your full social security number (SSN) and EIN/TIN, which will be used to verify your business
     

  • W9 Form and Jobs Survey before grant funds disbursement
     

  • Know your business's NAICS code 
       

  • Receipt of paid taxes or screenshot from Wake County Tax Administration 

When you go to fill out the application, please be ready with the required documentation, your business's legal name and DBA, EIN/TIN, NAICS code, and contact information for all owners. 

GRANT AMOUNT

The grant award will be based on 6x the average monthly operating expenses or $30,000, whichever is less. Grant recipients that agree to receive and complete technical assistance plans are eligible for the grant. The monthly average operating expenses will be based on the most recently filed Business Tax Returns.

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TECHNICAL 
ASSISTANCE

CSBDF offers technical assistance courses on a variety of topics in English and Spanish, including but not limited to:

  • Business and financial management

  • Disaster risk management

  • Marketing and advertising

  • Leadership and soft skill development

  • Basics of entrepreneurship

READY TO APPLY?

When you go to fill out the application, please be ready with your required documentation (listed above), your business's legal name and DBA, EIN/TIN, NAICS code, and contact information for all owners. 

The application portal for Oak City Biz Labs is currently closed but will open at 10 a.m. on February 27.

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