Cayuga County recently launched a COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grant program to financially assist small businesses within the County that suffered negative economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The County was awarded funds through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSLFRF), a part of the American Rescue Plan.  Earlier this year, the County Legislature allocated $500,000 of these funds to assist small businesses with grant awards of up to $10,000 for each business.

A Working Committee was formed to create the policy guidelines and application, which includes the eligibility criteria and how applications will be scored.  The County has contracted with the Cayuga Economic Development Agency (CEDA) for support services to deliver this grant program.  CEDA is assisting with marketing the program, and application intake and processing.  The applications will be scored by an Award Review and Selection Committee, established by the County, which consists of two Cayuga County Legislators and three professionals from the business community.

All of the information about the Cayuga County Small Business Assistance Grant is on CEDA’s website at  It is mandatory that applicants read the Policy Guidelines in its entirety and certify they have read it within the application.  Applicants may also find it helpful to watch the video presentation prior to applying.

Some of the eligibility criteria include that the business must: be located in Cayuga County; have been established and operating on or before December 31, 2019; be a for-profit business; have fiscal year 2019 revenues less than $1M; have less than 25 employees; demonstrate a loss of annual gross receipts greater than or equal to 10% when comparing 2020 and 2021 to 2019 tax returns; and not be delinquent in any taxes or local loan programs.  Please visit CEDA’s website to review the complete list of eligibility criteria.

The County grant funds can cover negative economic impacts documented during the period of January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021.  Applicants will need to submit copies of their filed business tax returns for fiscal years 2019, 2020, and 2021.  The Award Committee will use these tax returns as a baseline for assessing economic losses.  In addition, the evaluation criteria includes the amount of requested grant funds relative to the documented loss, and the demographic distribution of grant funds within the County.

It is the intent of the Cayuga County Legislature to distribute the funds in an objective, equitable and accountable manner on behalf of the citizens of Cayuga County. In order to widely and equitably distribute these grant funds to the County’s small business community, the county will likely allocate less than the maximum single-applicant award of $10,000 to individual businesses, to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, any small business that is awarded a grant will be required to execute a Grant Agreement, which includes providing an End of Program Report that will contain the following information: how the funds were utilized and expended; how the funds helped the business survive and/or grow; and how the awarded funds affected business revenue generation.

The awarded businesses may only use the grant funds for mitigating business financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Business financial hardships include, but are not limited to, declines in revenues, periods of business closure, supporting payroll and benefit costs or costs to retain or replace employees, business-related mortgage, rent, or utilities costs, and other business operating costs.

It is recommended, and preferred, that applicants complete their application online, however a printable version is available on the website, and paper applications are available at the County office building and local town/village clerk’s offices.  Grant applications must be complete and submitted by 4:00 pm on Thursday, December 15, 2022 to be considered.

A timeline of important dates can be found on CEDA’s County Grant webpage.  It is expected that the Award Review and Selection Committee will contact awarded businesses in early February 2023 and the issuance of grants will be completed as soon as administratively possible, following the County’s receipt of the executed Grant Agreements.

Any questions or clarifications about the grant must be submitted through the program’s email account, which is  CEDA may only respond to questions in writing.  These questions and answers will be compiled and posted on the grant webpage under the Frequently Asked Questions section.

CEDA is a private sector, 501(c)3 Local Development Corporation established to implement a comprehensive economic development strategy for all of Cayuga County. CEDA’s mission is “To foster a sustainable quality of life in Cayuga County through job retention, expansion, and attraction”. To learn more, contact one of our Specialists for free and confidential assistance for your business.