Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program


The City of Lowell, Economic Development Office has created a grant program available to Lowell’s small, independently owned, brick-and-mortar retailers, restaurants, and personal service businesses that have been most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant awards of up to $5,000 are available to eligible businesses until funds have been depleted.  Grants will be awarded on a case-by-case basis giving priority to small businesses that suffered the most financial impact. 


The Lowell Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program is funded through the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Small Businesses will need to comply with at least one (1) of the following HUD/CDBG income criteria:

  • Applicant will retain at least one (1) full-time job or full-time job equivalent*, held by a Lowell resident who has a combined household income within “very low” or “low-to-moderate” income ranges-see Appendix D for income thresholds;  or 
  • If applicant has laid-off all employees due to COVID-19, applicant will pledge to either rehire at least one (1) full-time job or full-time equivalent* or retain a furloughed full-time employee or full-time equivalent who meets income eligibility standards per CDBG’s guidelines.

In addition to the income-eligibility and job creation/retention requirements, successful applicants will also need to meet the following criteria:  

  • Lowell-Based business
  • Brick-and-Mortar business
  • Business must have been in operation prior to March, 30th 2019 (+1 yr.)
  • Business must have had at least one (1) full-time employee or full-time equivalent prior to March 1st, 2020
  • Business has at least One (1) year remaining on business lease or proof of commercial real estate ownership
  • Total annual revenue not exceeding  $1,000,000
  • Demonstrate a 25% loss in revenue for March 2020 (as compared with March 2019)
  • Retain at least one (1) full-time or full-time equivalent employee on payroll (excluding owner)
  • Show best effort to reopen and resume business operations upon issuance of the Commonwealth of MA executive order.

*full-time job equivalent represents 40 hrs. per week

Use of Grant Funds

Grant funds can be used for short-term capital assistance with working capital, such as but not limited to, rent, utilities and payroll expenses. Proof of payment will be required in the form of detailed bank or credit card statements, cancelled checks, or receipt payments for the grant funds used towards eligible expenses. Grant funds cannot be used to pay for debt accrued prior to COVID-19 (March, 2020).

Ineligible Applicants

  • Do not meet the income guidelines aforementioned
  • Do not meet the job creation/retention requirements aforementioned
  • Non brick-and-mortar businesses
  • Non-profit or faith-based organization
  • Following type of businesses: cannabis businesses; liquor-stores, pawn shops; nail salons; tobacco stores; used car dealerships; real estate, insurance or law offices
  • Has past due bills, tax liens or has filed for bankruptcy
  • Does not have a valid/current business registration with the City/State

Application Deadline

The application period OPENS Monday, May 4, 2020 @ Noon. Applications must be submitted by Monday, May 11, 2020 at 4:00 PM

Additional Considerations

Minority-owned small businesses will be given preference as well as small businesses that haven’t applied or secured any SBA funding through the CARES Act.  

Please note, that even if a business meets the aforementioned criteria it is not guaranteed to receive a grant due to funding constraints of this program. The City Reserves the right to discontinue or modify requirements and funding as necessary.  

For More Information

If you have questions about the Lowell Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program, please email our Economic Development team or call (978) 674-1435

For assistance in Spanish, contact:  978-654-5673
Spanish PDF

For assistance in Khmer, contact:  978-656-1127
Khmer PDF

For assistance in Portuguese, contact: 978-674-1435
Portuguese PDF


Online Application