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Promise Act Grant Program

Application Deadline: May 21, 2024

The Northland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is proud to partner with the Northland Foundation and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to offer confidential and no-cost technical assistance to small businesses applying to the Promise Act Grant Program. Read on to learn more about the program and how Northland SBDC can guide you through the application process.

Webinar: 2024 Promise Act Application Walkthrough

What is the Promise Act Grant Program?

This program offers competitive grants to small businesses with the most competitive business applicants having experienced economic hardship in 2022 and having received less than $10,000 in COVID-19 relief funding from the State of Minnesota. Applications to the Promise Act Grant Program for businesses located in the Northland Foundation’s service area in Northeast Minnesota will be accepted from March 26, 2024 through May 21, 2024. Businesses will be informed of whether they’ve received a grant in July 2024. A second round of grants is planned for 2025.

More details on the grant program can be found on the Northland Foundation website. Minnesota small businesses located outside of the Northland Foundation’s Service Area can be find their regional Promise Act Grant Program partner on DEED’s website.

How can Northland SBDC help?

Businesses can attend any of our Open Office Hours for assistance with their applications.

Businesses can also sign up for services and set up a time to meet one-on-one with a business consultant. Office Hours and one-on-one counseling are both offered at no charge to businesses.

What can I expect from Open Office Hours?

Open Office Hours are designated times where businesses can work with a business consultant to walk through the Promise Act Grant application together. Only one business will be admitted into the meeting room at a time, ensuring that your business finances remain confidential. If you are attending a virtual session, that means you may have to wait to be admitted into the Zoom meeting until the business currently being served is finished with their session. Open Office Hours do not require an appointment and are offered on a first come first served basis.

What do I need to bring to Open Office Hours?

During the application, businesses will be asked to upload a copy of the following

  • Primary Contact Identification such as a current driver’s license, Tribal ID card, or other government ID.
  • Proof of Operating Business Address such as a bill or invoice addressed to the business.
  • 2021 Business Tax Return
  • 2022 Business Tax Return

Businesses must bring their completed 2021 and 2022 business tax returns to receive assistance with the economic hardship portion of the application. The most competitive applications will be able to show either a 10% decline in gross revenue or any decline in net profit in 2022 compared to 2021. A Microsoft Word copy of the full application is available at the Northland Foundation’s website.

When are Open Office Hours available?

Northland SBDC offers many Office Hours sessions over the grant application period. A listing of virtual Zoom sessions and in-person sessions are listed below. If none of these options work for you, we encourage you to sign up for services with Northland SBDC to schedule a time to work with a consultant one-on-one.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, businesses may submit their application without receiving technical assistance if they prefer. It will not affect your application’s eligibility or competitiveness.

There is no cost to businesses to attend Office Hours or receive one-on-one assistance from Northland SBDC.

The most competitive applications will be able to show a 10% decrease in gross revenue or any decline in net profits in 2022 compared to 2021 by uploading their business tax returns. You may submit an application without this documentation, but your application will be ranked lower than businesses that can show this impact.

The Promise Act Grant Program serves existing businesses with priority funding for businesses that experienced economic hardship in 2022 compared to 2021. We anticipate that the 2025 Promise Act Grant program will prioritize existing businesses that experienced economic hardship in 2023 compared to 2022. If your business doesn’t meet these criteria, we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter to watch for small business incentive programs that become available.

Non-profit organizations that earn 30% or more of their revenue on an ongoing basis through non-tax-deductible sales or dues in a fee-for-service model similar to for-profit businesses are eligible.

For the 2024 Promise Act Grant Program, economic hardship is defined as 10% decline in gross sales or any decline in net profit between 2021 and 2022 as reported on your business or non-profit tax returns.

Yes, as long as your business meets the basic eligibility criteria, you may reapply, and your application will receive the same consideration as others in the grant round.

The program requires that applicants have a gross annual revenue of $750,000 or less based on 2021 taxes or, if established after 2021, have revenue of $750,000 or less based on the most recent completed tax year.

Yes, however, your application may not score as well as others who meet or exceed this criterion.

Yes, however your application may not score as well as others who received less than $10,000 in previous assistance.

Yes, as long as there is a payment plan in place with the Department of Revenue.

No, eligible applicants are those who indicate plans to continue operating beyond January 1, 2024.

Visit the Northland Foundation website for more details.

Technically, a business owner may apply for more than one grant if they own more than one business that qualifies for the program. For this program, a business owner is defined as someone that owns at least 20% of a business. However, the Northland Foundation will review applications and submitted business records to ensure a business owner receives only one grant.

No. For this program, a business owner is defined as someone that owns at least 20% of a business. A business owner may only receive one grant, even if they own multiple businesses that qualify. If a business owner receives a grant in the spring 2024 round of funding, they will not be eligible to receive a grant in the second round of funding.

No, all applicants must indicate plans to continue operating beyond June 30, 2024.

Businesses must have earned a minimum of $10,000 of Gross Revenue in 2022 to be eligible for the Spring 2024 Promise Act Grants.

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