COVID-19 Business and Nonprofit Resources

COVID-19 Business and Nonprofit Resources

OEDIT partnered with the legislature to pass 12 bills that appropriated $228 million in funding to support economic recovery efforts. As we finalize program details, we will be updating this page with links and information about each program. The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment developed the Colorado COVID-19 website that houses all of their communications and the latest information regarding Colorado's response.

Economic Recovery Programs

Applications are open.
The Colorado Loans for Increasing Mainstreet Business and Economic Recovery (CLIMBER) fund provides $250 million to small businesses with working capital loans between $30,000 and $500,000. Below-market interest rates and a 1-year deferred payment option make the program a secure recovery option for small businesses.

Colorado Revolving Loan Fund
Applications are open.
This fund provides loans that help small to medium-sized Colorado businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These loans range from $5,000 to $750,000. The loans are intended to provide startup and working capital that will help create and retain jobs across Colorado.

Meeting and Events Incentive
Applications are open.
This program provides $10 million for a 10% cash rebate against eligible hard costs for hosting meetings and events in Colorado that take place on or after July 1, 2021 and on or before December 31, 2022.

Colorado Community Revitalization Grant
Applications are open.
This program provides $65 million in gap funding for mixed-use projects in creative districts, historic districts, main streets or neighborhood commercial centers.

Rural Jump-Start Zone Grant
Applications are open.
Businesses that establish new operations in specified Rural Jump-Start and Just Transition communities will be eligible to receive up to $40,000 and up to $5,000 per new hire.

Colorado Arts Relief Grant
Applications are open and due October 15.
This program provides $15.5 million for a second round of funding to support arts, cultural and entertainment artists, crew members, and organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program already provided $7.5 million in early 2021 in its first round of funding.

Colorado Creative Corps ARP Grant
Applications are open.
This grant provides funding up to $25,000 to individual artists for specific, definable projects that connect artists and organizations to local initiatives.

We've partnered with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to put together a COVID Recovery Funding Guide for Local Governments.

As we finalize the details of these programs, we will build out program pages and update timelines. Keep referencing this page for the latest information.

Disproportionately Impacted Business Grant
Applications will open in late October.
This program provides $1.7 million for grants to small businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small Business Accelerated Growth Program
Applications will open in fall 2021.
This program, also known as Economic Gardening, will provide $1.35 million for technical development support to businesses with 19 or fewer employees.

Colorado Cannabis (Marijuana) Entrepreneur Program
Applications will open late 2021.
This program provides $4 million in funding for grants and loans as well as technical assistance for entrepreneurs in the cannabis space.

Colorado Startup Loan Fund
Applications will open at the end of 2021.
This fund provides $40 million to small businesses seeking capital to start, restart, or restructure a business. Loans and small grants will be made available through a host of lenders that work in communities throughout the state. OEDIT will work with community partners to reach underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses owners.

Disproportionately Impacted Business Startup and Growth Loans
Applications will open in late 2021.
This program provides $1 million for loans to small businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business Foundations Technical Assistance Program
Applications will open in late 2021.
This program provides $900,000 to support technical assistance for small businesses with 5 or fewer employees.

Employee Ownership Loan Fund
Applications will open in late 2021.
This program provides loans available to Colorado business owners transitioning their business to Colorado Employee Owned (offering 20% or more employees ownership in the business) and to groups of employees purchasing an existing Colorado business to become Colorado Employee Owned.

State Small Business Credit Initiative
Applications will open in early 2022.
As a part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act, the federal government passed the SSBCI bill to fund small business credit support and investment programs. OEDIT will submit its application to receive these funds in December 2021 to increase capacity of existing programs that provide access to capital for new and growing businesses.

Employee Ownership Tax Credit Program
Applications will open in early 2022.
This program provides tax credits up to $50,000 to Colorado-based businesses that are forming employee stock ownership plans, cooperatives, and employee ownership trusts.

Reimagine Destinations Program
Applications will open in summer 2022.
This program provides awarded destinations a two-day tourism product development workshop, 100 hours of technical assistance, and $20,000 of direct marketing from the Colorado Tourism Office to support adoption of the Roadmap to Recovery.

Energize Colorado Gap Fund
Only applicants who have previous applied for the Gap Fund may receive this new round of funding.
In 2020, this fund gave $25 million in support to small businesses and nonprofits. More than 10,000 businesses applied to this fund and requested more than $110 million in relief. In 2021, the legislature provided an additional $15 million in state funds to give more funding to organizations that already applied but did not receive funding in 2020.

Tourism Marketing Matching Grant
Applications are closed.
This grant helps nonprofit organizations, destination marketing organizations, and local city and county governments market themselves to increase traveler spending in Colorado.

Economic Development Organization Recovery Grant
Applications are closed.
This grant helps Colorado organizations that support economic development maintain operations and economic recovery efforts. Grants of up to $25,000 and $50,000 are available, depending on the size of the population your organization serves.

Colorado Rural Resiliency and Recovery Roadmaps
Applications are closed.
This program provided $2.3 million in technical assistance and grants for regional teams of rural communities to drive economic relief, recovery, diversification and long-term resilience.

Restart Destinations Program
Applications are closed.
This program provided awarded destinations a recovery assessment, a full-day community visioning and action planning workshop, 75 hours of technical assistance, and $10,000 of direct marketing from the Colorado Tourism Office to support adoption of the Roadmap to Recovery.

DOLA's Small Business Relief Program
Applications are closed.
This program provided $35.15 million for grants to eligible local governments to disburse to certain small businesses across Colorado struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restart Industry Associations Program
Applications are closed.
This program provides awarded tourism industry associations 75 hours of technical assistance and $10,000 of direct marketing from the Colorado Tourism Office to support adoption of the Roadmap to Recovery.

Last week, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced six programs to equitably invest $3 billion allocated under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The programs help communities in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks.

The six programs are: 

These new EDA investments place an emphasis on equity and will directly benefit previously underserved communities impacted by COVID-19, including special allocations to support coal community projects through the Build Back Better Regional Challenge and Economic Adjustment Assistance grants.

Applications for all programs are now open. Deadlines vary based on program and are identified below.

The State of Colorado is currently working on planning for the funding directly allocated to the state for planning and the tourism outdoor recreation and travel industries. The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) is also collaborating with other state departments to explore opportunities in the new regional programs, like the Build Back Better Challenge. We look forward to updating our partners as these processes move forward.

In the interim, we wanted to highlight the programs listed above in three categories:

  • those open to individual communities or organizations
  • those open to regional partnerships
  • other opportunities

If you have any questions about these programs or how they might fit into your current planning or recovery processes, please contact our Denver Regional EDA Office or, if you are a rural partner, contact the Rural Opportunity Office team at OEDIT.

Community-level programs

Economic Adjustment Assistance Grants
Applications are due March 15, 2022.
The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program. Colorado communities applying for grants under this program should consider innovative projects that will put people back to work or create new jobs. A wide range of technical, planning, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and public works and infrastructure projects are eligible for funding under this program. 40% of the funding for the Economic Adjustment Assistance Grants is set aside to support coal communities. Grant projects can range from $100,000 up to $10,000,000.

Indigenous Communities Grants
Applications are due September 30, 2022. 
The Indigenous Communities program sets aside funding specifically for Indigenous communities, which were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Colorado’s Tribal Governments are eligible to apply for recovery and long-term economic development projects that include technical, planning, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and public works and infrastructure assistance. Grant projects can range from $100,000 up to $5,000,000. We encourage communities to submit their applications as soon as possible, at least by March 31, 2022.

Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Grants
Applications are due January 31, 2022.
The Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation program sets aside funding to accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on this sector. The competitive grants are a fit for Colorado communities whose travel, tourism and outdoor recreation economies were most affected by the pandemic and want to plan for recovery and future resiliency through infrastructure, workforce or other projects. Destination marketing funding is not permitted under this program. Grant projects can range from $100,000 up to $10,000,000.

Regional programs

Build Back Better Regional Challenge
Phase 1 applications are due October 19, 2022.
This competitive, two-phase program is designed to increase the resiliency of regional economies. Regional teams that want to grow a new or existing regional industry are encouraged to apply for funding that includes planning, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship, workforce development, access to capital, and more. 10% of the funding for the Build Back Better Challenge is set aside to support coal communities.

  • In Phase 1, the EDA will provide $200,000 to $500,000 technical assistance grants to the lead institutions of approximately 50-60 regional coalitions. These coalitions will get planning support to craft a holistic approach to building and scaling a transformative and strategic industry.
  • In Phase 2, EDA will award each of the 20-30 finalist coalitions $25-75 million (and potentially up to $100 million) to fund the collection of projects they identified. The projects will be funded through grants to coalition members. Only regions selected for Phase 1 will be eligible to apply for Phase 2 in the spring of 2022.

Good Jobs Challenge
Applications are due January 26, 2022.
This challenge is designed to create new good-paying job opportunities for Americans by strengthening systems and partnerships between employers who need workers and those programs or entities that train workers with in-demand skills. Colorado regions that have a goal of reaching their historically underserved populations, have employers willing to partner and have training entities identified are encouraged to apply for this program. The program includes three phases: 

  • Phase 1: System Development - establish and develop a regional workforce training system made up of multiple sector partnerships.
  • Phase 2: Program Design - develop the skills training curriculum and materials, and secure technical expertise needed to train workers.
  • Phase 3: Program Implementation - implement non-construction projects needed to provide workforce training and connect workers with quality jobs, including wrap-around services. A unique part of this program is the addition of these “wrap-around services” which can address worker needs like childcare and transportation.

Grant projects can range from $1,000,000 up to $25,000,000.

Other programs

Research and Networks Grants
Applications are due October 31, 2021.
There are two categories in this challenge. Grant projects can range from $200,000 up to $6,000,000.

  • Communities of Practice Challenge grants will fund organizations with a national scope that focus on key groups of economic development stakeholders and provide technical assistance to them. As communities and organizations face depleted institutional resources and are stressed with coronavirus-related demands, they have been unable to connect with and learn from peers across the industry to evaluate and nurture strategies needed to rebuild a more equitable and resilient economy. The Communities of Practice Challenge seeks to connect EDA grantees from a selected group of stakeholders (cohorts) with others within the same group or possibly also across multiple groups as well as to provide those cohorts technical assistance.
  • Research Program grants support research and evaluation projects related to economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. They can support the development of tools, recommendations, and resources that shape Federal economic development policies and inform economic development decision-making at the state level. Special consideration is given to those projects that look at real-time research into the EDA ARPA programs like the Good Jobs Challenge, Build Back Better Regional Challenge, Indigenous Communities and Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation tourism programs.

Active programs

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
Applications are open.
The EIDL program provides small businesses and non-profits with low-interest loans that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing due to COVID-19. Small businesses that received a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan won’t have to start making payments on the loan until 2022.

 A Small Business Administration disaster declaration was declared on September 16, 2021 for businesses in Garfield, Eagle, Mesa, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, and Routt counties. These counties eligible to apply for EIDL with SBA as a result of landslides and associated closures of Glenwood Canyon.

Closed programs

Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Applications are closed.
This fund provided $28.6 billion in grants to restaurants and bars in need. This fund will offer grants to hard-hit restaurants and bars, with restaurants able to apply for grants based on lost revenue. Five billion dollars of that total will be set aside expressly for businesses with 2019 gross receipts of less than $500,000.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
Applications are closed.
This program includes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.

Paycheck Protection Program
Applications are closed.
This program reopened the week of January 11, 2021 with the $284 billion Congressional appropriation for small business relief.

Other Assistance

The State of Colorado has partnered with the legal community to create a volunteer program called the Colorado COVID Legal Relief. This organization connects attorneys with Colorado businesses in need to help them make informed decisions and get back on their feet.

From financial aid compliance to leasing arrangements and business liability, small businesses across our state face complex challenges, and most small businesses need legal resources and expertise to make informed decisions.

The Colorado Lawyers Committee is matching volunteer attorneys with small businesses in need of assistance. This organization is a nonpartisan consortium of 80 Colorado law firms dedicated to creating and increasing opportunities for children, the poor and other disadvantaged communities through pro bono legal advocacy, negotiation, and litigation.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) provides rental assistance. DOLA also supports landowners and tenants facing eviction and foreclosure. Landlords and renters can apply for emergency rental assistance.

If you need legal support, please visit Colorado COVID Legal Relief.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment created a Layoff Assistance page, which outlines a number of programs and resources to help business owners make difficult decisions around laying off employees.

The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allows employers to defer the deposit and payment of the employer's share of Social Security taxes and self-employed individuals to defer payment of certain self-employment taxes.

Unemployment claims

The Colorado Department of Labor's unemployment page has worksheets to calculate benefits, frequently asked questions, and a link to file an unemployment claim. You can also reach out to their call center hotline at (303) 318-9000. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm You can also request a call-back to receive support on filing a claim.

Funding for education and work-related training

Has your job or education been disrupted by the pandemic? This could include:

  • being laid off or furloughed
  • experiencing decreased earning
  • had job offers rescinded
  • could not enter the workforce because of adverse economic conditions

As part of the Colorado Recovery Plan, funding is available to support job seekers, workers, and students in completing training for the skills needed for in-demand careers.

Connect Further

The Small Business Navigator can direct you to resources and answer questions about COVID-19 specific funding. Hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Hotline: (303) 860-5881

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