Microenterprise Assistance Program

Program Mission

The purpose of this program is to assist micro-enterprise businesses (5 or fewer employees including the owners) that have been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. Awarded funds will be made available as grants to eligible Gardner micro-enterprises who have experienced adverse economic impacts from Covid-19.  Micro-enterprise businesses with 5 employees or less, that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 will be able to seek assistance through the Gardner Microenterprise Assistance Program.

Eligibility of micro-enterprises to apply for COVID- 19 Relief Assistance funds through this program will be based on a pre-qualification certification process which the applicant:

  • Demonstrates an adverse financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Meets the National Objective of LMI Area-wide Benefit
  • Meets the HUD/CDBG qualification requirements of a “microenterprise”
  • Meets all other CDBG-CV and Microenterprise Assistance program guidelines

Funding

Grants will be awarded to eligible micro-enterprise owners up to a maximum of $5,000 per micro-enterprise.  Anticipated, actual grant amounts will likely range between $3,000 and $5,000.  The City of Gardner has received $400,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Housing and Community Development as a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to implement this program.  Funding for this program was made available under the Federal CARES-Act.  We anticipate serving between 80 and 120 micro-enterprise businesses.

How to Apply

The Gardner Micro-enterprise Assistance Grant Program is now accepting Applications. To apply, download and complete the application and required forms below. Please read the Program Guidelines and Application Guidance document before completing an application. All applicants must complete the Gardner Covid-19 Business Impact Survey before applying. If you have not already completed the survey please do so by following the link below.  

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until all available funds have been fully expended.   Please make sure to download, review, and complete all related File Attachments, including Program Guidelines, Certifications, and Forms.  Please read the program guidelines carefully for instructions on how to apply and to ensure that your business is eligible for this program.

For additional information about the application process or to receive a printed hardcopy of the application by mail or hand delivery please contact Maribel Cruz, Economic Development Coordinator.  

For specific questions about program guidelines or eligibility please contact, Jeff Legros, Assistant Director of Community Development and Planning.

Link to Application Documents (6):


    1. Program Guidelines & Application Guidance Document

    2. Gardner Microenterprise Assistance Grant Program - APPLICATION

    3. Microenterprise & LMI Certification Form

    4. 6-Month Profit & Loss Statement - 2019

    5. 6-Month Profit & Loss Statement - 2020

    6. Eligible Business Expenses Cost Calculation Form

Covid-19 Small Business Impact Survey

Potential Applicants must first complete the Gardner Small Business Owners Survey to help us assess the current impacts to your business relative to the Covid-19 pandemic. Results from the survey will help us determine and document your businesses eligibility and needs and will guide and inform the implementation of the Gardner Micro-enterprise Business Covid-19 Relief Assistance Program.  Data gathered as part of this survey will also assist the City in identifying additional needs and seeking additional sources of funding for small businesses.   

The brief survey should only take 5 to 10 minutes to complete and is available on the City’s website at: https://www.gardner-ma.gov/1084/COVID-Business-Survey.  The City of Gardner encourages all small business owners to participate in the survey and we thank you in advance for your participation.

Additional Information and Resources for Businesses

The Department of Community Development and Planning has created a Small Business Resources section of the City’s Covid-19 Updates webpage.  For information and announcements related to Covid-19 visit www.gardner-ma.gov/1055/COVID-19.   To find specific information and resources for small businesses related to Covid-19 visit www.gardner-ma.gov/1064/COVID-19-Small-Business-Resources.com.

Any businesses that need assistance with reopening or have general questions regarding business grants or assistance programs are encouraged to contact the City of Gardner’s Economic Development Coordinator, Maribel Cruz, within the Community Development and Planning Department by email at mcruz@gardner-ma.gov, or by phone at 978-630-4074 ext.1.

Technical Assistance for Microenterprise Businesses

CDBG-funded Technical Assistance Consultations are currently available to Gardner microenterprise businesses (those employing fewer than 5 employees and owned by a Low- to Moderate- Income qualified person).  Services are provided to eligible Gardner business owners through NewVue Communities Small Business Program.  

Staff at NewVue Communities are currently available for consultations.   These services are currently funded as a Public Social Service Program through the City of Gardner’s Community Development Block Grant Program.  Under this program NewVue Communities can provide one-on-one technical assistance consultations to eligible Gardner micro-enterprise businesses in need of guidance related to sustaining or growing their business, including identifying and applying for available funding or resources.  Consultations are currently available to provide direct support to micro-enterprise business owners, especially those impacted by COVID-19.

Technical Assistance Services provided as part of this program include but are not limited to:

    • Guidance and focused assistance with a specific area or problem within their business startup or established business;
    • Assistance in preparing a loan package or business plan;
    • Assistance in preparing and interpreting financial documents so they can better manage their business;
    • Assistance resolving credit and tax issues as part of loan packaging;
    • Assistance with accounting system set up and training;
    • Assistance developing cost effective promotional strategies;
    • Assistance finding, qualifying, and applying for eligible sources of funding, particularly with regard to available Covid-19 recovery assistance programs.

Consultation meetings with NewVue can be conducted remotely via tele-conferencing or telephone, or, communications can be managed through email.  Contact Flor Cintron at fcintron@nvcomm.org for more information or to schedule an appointment for consultation.