FedEx is supporting small businesses that are reeling from the fallout of the coronavirus.
The delivery-services corporation allocated $1 million in “Support Small” grants available to businesses with 50 employees or fewer. Each of the 200 awardees will receive a $5,000 grant plus a $500 FedEx Office credit to be used in-store for printing, packaging and designing services. There are no restrictions on what the grant money can be used for.
“Many small businesses are hurting right now. We know you’re putting your all into not just surviving but becoming more creative and resilient than ever,” the company announced.
Online applications will open May 25 and close June 12 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. Once live, businesses can fill out the application on FedEx’s Support Small grant webpage.
According to FedEx’s grant FAQ, the application takes as little as 10 minutes. It includes a questionnaire, which will requireS basic background information about the business, an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a Social Security Number (SSN). Documents related to 2019 business revenue will also be needed to determine eligibility.
To qualify, small businesses must:
- Be operating for at least one year.
- Have fewer than 50 employees.
- Be for-profit.
- Have made less than $5 million in sales revenue in 2019.
- Have shipped in the last 12 months or have plans to ship in the next 12 months.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
Direct sellers, independent consultants, non-profit organizations and franchised businesses are not eligible for grants.
The grant money does not need to be repaid. After the application portal closes, FedEx will begin selecting businesses and notifying them via email in late June through early July.
The Support Small initiative is separate from FedEx’s annual small business grant contest. Winners for that contest have already been chosen, and previous awardees aren’t eligible for the new grant program.
Government assistance programs through the Small Business Administration have been plagued by delays and depletion of funds. The SBA announced in early May that 60% of the second round of small business funding for the Paycheck Protection Program had been dispersed. Applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, another SBA emergency program, have been closed to new applicants for weeks.
FedEx is the latest company to join a wave of private-sector funding for small businesses. Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Starbucks have also contributed grant money to businesses affected by the fallout of COVID-19.
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at Codetic. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.