City, Working Solutions Launch Home-Based Business Grant Program

Date Posted: October 13th, 2020 @ 12:51 PM
Last Updated: October 13th, 2020 @ 3:20 PM

The City of Oakland received $36.9 million in State of California CARES Act funding. Of that amount, the Oakland CARES Act Home-Based Business Grant Program will distribute $500,000 in grants of $2,000 to $4,000 to home-based, for-profit businesses in Oakland. Working Solutions, a Bay Area nonprofit, is administering the application and grant-making process. The grant application period closes at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, November 2. Online applications in four languages are available at:

“We recognize that revenue from a home-based business is often a major source of household income for our entrepreneurs, and losses due to the pandemic are pushing vulnerable populations to the brink of economic and housing insecurity,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “This grant program supports Oakland’s entrepreneurial spirit reflected in the wide variety of home-based businesses found in The Town.”

Priority will be given to home-based businesses representing a broad geographic diversity in Oakland, especially those located in low-income areas or otherwise historically vulnerable communities; those who have received $4,000 or less in funding from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); and those with annual gross business revenue under $150,000. The grant amounts of $2,000 to $4,000 will be based on gross revenue of the home-based business.

“Working Solutions is proud to partner with the City of Oakland to make grants to home-based small business owners in Oakland who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sara Razavi, CEO of Working Solutions. “This grant program will provide immediate relief to local home-based business owners, who face their own unique challenges during this crisis, and is an important follow-up to our work with the City this spring and summer through the Oakland Small Business Emergency Grant Program.”

In order to be eligible for this grant program, the business must:

  • Be verified as a for-profit, home-based business in Oakland;
  • Have a valid Oakland business license;
  • Have been in operation prior to March 1, 2019;
  • Be able to demonstrate negative impacts to the business from the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Certify that the home-based business income represents the majority (>50%) of the applicant’s total individual income; and
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (due to restrictions associated with federal CARES Act funding sources).

Business owners who previously received a grant from the Oakland Small Business Emergency Grant Program (between April and July 2020) are eligible to apply for this grant program.

Grant funds may be used for COVID-19-related costs and losses, such as payroll; rent or mortgage payments; utilities or other operating expenses; or fixtures, supplies, and other non-construction site modifications needed to satisfy COVID-19 distancing and mitigation requirements. Funds may not be used for new construction or building improvements.

Other Grant and Support Programs Available

This is the latest CARES Act-funded program launched by the City of Oakland. Grant programs for small businesses, individual artists and arts nonprofits,

community-serving nonprofits and low-income renters and homeowners were announced in September. Additionally, free legal advice webinars and consultations on lease negotiations for small businesses were announced last week. Businesses may only receive a grant from one CARES Act-funded program. Learn more about the $36.9 million in CARES Act Funding at:

About Working Solutions

Working Solutions is a nonprofit microlender and the First to Believe in start-up and early-stage businesses. As a U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Working Solutions provides diverse entrepreneurs with affordable capital, customized business consulting, and community connections to increase economic opportunity in the San Francisco Bay Area. To date, Working Solutions has made over $27 million in microloans and grants to more than 1,300 local businesses and provided over 14,000 consulting hours.

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Media Contact

Harry Hamilton
Marketing Coordinator
City of Oakland
(510) 238-6766

Natalya Blumenfeld
Working Solutions
Communications Officer
(415) 655-5427

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