NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Legislature directed $100 million of federal stimulus funds to the New Mexico Finance Authority to operate a grant program for small businesses who were severely affected by the pandemic. The New Mexico Finance Authority was named the administrator of the Small Business CARES Relief Grants.

The New Mexico Economic Development Department hosted a virtual presentation on Dec. 3 to give more information on what small businesses need to apply. The $100 million Small Business CARES Relief Grant program provides grants of up to $50,000 to businesses with 100 or fewer employees and that are experiencing financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Application submissions being at noon on Dec.7, 2020. The last day to submit an application is at noon on Dec. 18, 2020.

How funds will be dispersed

The legislation requires that NMFA give priority to businesses that are experiencing severe economic impact. To determine this, NMFA will calculate each applicant’s profit & loss divided by the number of employees.

Applicants are able to use pre-COVID employment levels for purposes of determining the grant amount. Applicants are required to submit a copy of the quarterly wage report to support the information. Quarterly report from Mar. 31, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020.

The legislation requires that NMFA ensure geographic dispersion.

  • 40% of the funds are set aside for businesses in rural areas
  • 60% of the funds are available to all businesses that are in or located within 10 miles of a city with a population of 50,000+

The legislation also requires that NMFA give priority to businesses in the hospitality and leisure industries. To achieve this, funds have been set aside for certain businesses.

  • 20% to accommodation businesses (NAICS code 721)
  • 20% to food services and drinking businesses (NAICS code 722)
  • 15% to all other leisure businesses (NAICS code 71 –Arts, Entertainment and Recreation)
  • 3% for Destination Marketing Organizations
  • 2% for non-employer businesses

Marquita Russel, NMFA’s Chief Executive Officer said they are hoping to have all of the grants out and in the hands of the business owners by Dec. 24.

Eligible Businesses

  • Eligible nonprofits include those designated by the IRS as 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), 501(c)8, and other 501(c) corporations that serve past or present members of the US Armed Forces
  • For-profit businesses (sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, etc.) owned at least 51 percent by one or more individuals who have certified that they lived in New Mexico during any part of the year or were physically present in this state for at least 185 days during the taxable year
  • Businesses must offer proof of residency through a valid New Mexico State driver’s license or government-issued identification card
  • All businesses that meet eligibility guidelines may apply for funding regardless of whether the business has already received state or federal assistance
  • Franchises can be funded if the business 51% of it is locally owned.

Note: Businesses should only apply once, and are encouraged to apply as early as possible to give them the best chance of being awarded a grant. Incomplete applications will not be processed.

Filling out the application

The application system requires that businesses submit all documents in electronic format at the time they apply. The application system does not allow businesses to “save” the application and return to the document at a later time

NMFA is using a third-party application system called Formstack, which applicants will access at NMFA is requiring applicants to have checking accounts at federally insured financial institutions

Information you’ll need to complete the application

  • North American Industry Classification System Code (NAICS Code)
  • Business’s revenues/cash receipts and expenses from Apr. 1 – Nov. 30, 2020. Applicants are able to provide preliminary results for November expenses

Documents needed to be uploaded include

  • 2019 business federal tax return
  • Copy of quarterly wage report submitted to New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions
  • Bank information including a copy of a canceled or voided check
  • Copy of NM Drivers License or Government-Issued Identification for the “Authorized Officer” and all New Mexico resident-owners that make up at least 51% of the business ownership

Processing the applications

Applications will be processed in three rounds so that businesses that apply later in the application period still have a chance to obtain funding.

  • Round 1: $40 million will be made available to all complete applications submitted by noon on Dec. 10.
  • Round 2: $35 million will be made available to all complete and unawarded applications submitted by noon on Dec. 15.
  • Round 3: $25 million (plus any unawarded funds) will be available for all complete and unawarded applications by noon on Dec. 18.

Grant Amounts

Businesses will be awarded grant amounts based upon the number of individuals they employ. According to NMFA, the grant amounts are fixed amounts that are based on quarterly wage reports submitted to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. Businesses that do not pay unemployment taxes (non-employer businesses) and those that do not submit a copy of the quarterly wage report will be eligible for a grant of $2,000.

What if I had to reduce staff because of the Emergency Health Orders? How will this affect the amount of grant I receive?

According to NMFA, applicants are able to use pre-COVID employment levels for the purposes of determining the grant amount. Applicants are able to submit any quarterly wage report from March 31, 2019 to date.

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