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Guidelines Round II

Small Business Vitality Assistance Program

Learn how to receive funding for COVID Recovery, Entrepreneurial Assistance, and Technical Support.


This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by the City of Albany.


In March of 2021, President Joe Biden signed a major piece of legislation into law – the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). To help replace lost revenues, cover COVID-related expenses, and reverse the economic impacts of this pandemic, the City of Albany received approximately $80.7 million in ARPA funding. With these monies, the City of Albany funded The Small Business Vitality Assistance program, which aims to support the recovery of Albany’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.


The Small Business Vitality Assistance Program Can Support Your Business By:

  • Offering flexible financial assistance

  • Kickstarting and accelerating entrepreneurship and local spending

  • Assisting in the growth of small businesses

  • Providing training and technical assistance to deepen capacity



    COVID Recovery


    Assistance for Entrepreneurs


    Technical Assistance for Small Businesses


    The Program Will Also Provide Funding In Three Main Categories:





    PLEASE NOTE - Albany business addresses within a Qualified Census Tract, as identified by the US Dept of Treasury, do not need to provide evidence of COVID-related financial hardship to be eligible for assistance. You can see if your property is located within the Qualified Tract by using this map.


  • Those located outside of a Qualified Census Tract will be required to show one or more of the following to be eligible to receive assistance:

Financial insecurity

  • Increased costs

  • Capacity to weather financial hardship

  • Challenges covering payroll, rent or mortgage, or other operating costs

  • Decreased revenue or gross receipts


Eligible Businesses Must:

  • Be located in the City of Albany.

  • Have no more than 20 full-time or full-time equivalent employees.

  • Be a registered New York State business.

  • Be engaged in activities that are legal under New York and federal law.

  • Must be in good standing with local, state, and federal agencies, including Taxes, building and codes, and law enforcement.

  • Businesses must currently have undisputed and valid permits to operate the business.

    Who Isn’t Eligible:

  • Nonprofits.

  • Franchises.

  • Businesses located outside of the City of Albany.

  • Businesses with more than 20 full-time or full-time equivalent employees.

  • Businesses that received Restaurant Revitalization Funds.

  • Items funded through Capitalize Albany Corporation’s ARPA-funded grant programs, Albany Neighborhood Retail Grant Program, City of Albany Small Business Façade Improvement Grant Program, or the Downtown Albany Retail Grant Program.


    Funding Rounds | Tracks 1 – 3


    There will be three rounds of funding. The first round will open Tuesday, December 20, 2022. The first round will remain open until all dedicated funds are disbursed. Future rounds’ priorities may evolve as business needs evolve. The opening of future rounds and changes will be announced via, press, social media, and print.

    Awards Will Be Based on a Combination of Factors, Including:



    Availability of Funds


    Program Eligibility:

  • Business Fluency: is the Business Sustainable

  • Previous Assistance: There may be funding conflicts


The Small Business Vitality Assistance Program Assists In Three Separate Categories:

Track #1 is for existing small businesses in the City of Albany to assist with COVID recovery.

Track #2 provides funding for tuition for entrepreneur classes/programs.


Please Note - The program guidelines for each track will differ in some respects. However, where deviations in the program guidelines are not explicitly stated, each track's program rules and regulations shall be the same. Central Avenue Business Improvement District reserves the right to modify any and all such terms.


Track #3 offers technical assistance and/or funding for technical assistance for small businesses.


Track #1 – COVID Recovery Assistance for Existing Small Businesses


Grants shall be a minimum of $2,000 with a maximum of $15,000. The number of funds will be awarded based on the project meeting the basic eligibility requirements, the demonstrated need, and business fluency.


Track #1 Eligible Uses:

  • Back rent

  • Past-due commercial insurance

  • Past due utilities

  • Outstanding taxes

  • Outstanding vendor bills

  • Technology upgrades

  • Implementing new services (delivery, online ordering, shopping cart, etc.)

  • Other COVID recovery-related expenses

    Track #1 Ineligible Uses:

  • Façade/ exterior work

  • Interior fit up

  • Large equipment


    Other reasonable uses will be considered if the business can demonstrate that its economic impacts will be compounded without the intervention of the grant program.

    Funding for ineligible costs may be available through Capitalize Albany Corporation’s grant programs. Information on their programs can be found at




    Track #2 – Entrepreneur Training and Education


    Both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs may be eligible to receive tuition coverage for certified training and education classes. The tuition will be paid directly to the provider through this assistance program.


    Track #2 Eligible Uses:

    Pre-approved entrepreneur and business training and education courses:

  • SBDC Training Programs and Workshops (Small Business Development Center)

  • Capital Region Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp

  • Capital District Community Loan Fund:

    • 9 Week Business Planning Course

    • 9 Week Childcare Accelerator Business Course



      Apply for Tuition Coverage to Grow Your Business


  • Others will be considered





    Track #3 – Technical Assistance for Small Businesses


    Small businesses that have been identified as needing additional outside assistance can choose from a list of approved vendors to receive an agreed-upon set of services to be paid directly to the vendor through this grant program.


    Track #3 Eligible Uses:

    Technical assistance by industry experts in the following areas:

  • Accounting

  • Human resources

  • Legal services

  • Information technology services

  • MWBE certification

  • Insurance

  • Others as deemed appropriate

  • SBDC Training



How Businesses Can Apply For Grant Funding


To be considered for the Small Business Vitality Assistance, all applicants must meet with a SBDC counselor. Interested businesses will complete an online intake form at A representative from the Small Business Development Council (SBDC) will schedule a meeting with the applicant. Upon counseling session(s) completion, a recommendation for funding will be made to the Funding Committee. The Committee will review the information from SBDC and make a final determination.

Email questions to

This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by the City of Albany.

Small business challenges are ever-evolving due to the pandemic. Supply chain issues, employee shortages, and inflation may impact the Small Business Vitality Assistance program; eligibility criteria may evolve accordingly.


Apply Today!





For More Infomation Email:

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