Program Guidelines & Application

For Fiscal Year 2023

Round 1: Open October 1 - 31, 2022
Round 2: Open January 1 - 31, 2023
Round 3: Open April 1 - May 1, 2023

Program Objective

The Smart Start Business Development Grant Program is designed to provide financial support for new and recently established startups and small businesses to assist with expanding entrepreneurial opportunity, business resiliency, and organizational capacity building.

New and recently established for-profit small businesses and non-profit organizations with operations based in the City of Portsmouth

  • Available to businesses that have been in operation for 0-3 years (as evidenced by a City of Portsmouth business license)
  • Available to businesses with 10 full-time equivalent (FTE) or fewer positions
  • Available to businesses that are current with City of Portsmouth taxes and fees
  • Entities of local, state, or federal government, religious organizations, and residential-use businesses are prohibited from applying
  • Recipients of the Smart Start Business Development Grant may only receive funding one time under the program

The Smart Start Business Development Grant application is a four-step process. All applicants must first complete the Santa Clara University's My Own Business Institute's Quick Start Entrepreneur online course, or provide documentation of completion of an approved equivalent certification course.


Upon completion of the required coursework, the completed Smart Start Business Development Grant application is to be submitted to Portsmouth Economic Development for review and is not considered submitted if incomplete. Completed applications (those containing all required documentation) will be reviewed to determine completion status and adherence with program guidelines.


Approval or denial of an application lies within the discretion of the Portsmouth Economic Development Authority's (EDA) Board of Commissioners, considering factors such as the degree to which the business activities contemplated by the application further the goals of the program, the degree of the need for the funding, the level of funding requested, the amount of program funds remaining for the fiscal year, and any other factors the Board of Commissioners may deem relevant.


When an application is approved, the applicant will enter into a Grant Agreement with the Portsmouth EDA, agreeing to accept the approved grant funds. If the grantee needs to make any changes to the use of grant funds as proposed in the application, the grantee must notify Portsmouth Economic Development in writing in advance of the changes.

The Smart Start Business Development Grant is funded entirely by the Portsmouth Economic Development Authority (EDA). Eligible activities are only those within these Guidelines and must directly and primarily benefit the business for which the Grant award is received. The maximum grant amount available for any approved application is $2,000.


Recipients of the Smart Start Business Development Grant may only receive funding one time under the program.


Funding is available until the funding pool has been exhausted each fiscal year as appropriated. All recipients are required to enter into a Grant Agreement with the Portsmouth EDA. Recipients have 30 days to begin eligible business activities and 90 days to complete them. Extensions for an additional 90 days may be granted on a case-by-case basis.

  • Professional and third-party services to assist in expanding a business including legal, financial, accounting, marketing, social media, e-commerce, etc.
  • Small scale production/manufacturing equipment, machinery, tools, etc.
  • Technology and digital infrastructure (hardware, software, digital platforms, etc.)
  • Business furniture and fixtures
  • Wages, benefits, payroll expenses
  • Rent, debt service
  • Operating costs (utilities, insurance, etc.)
  • Real estate improvements
  • Supplies and inventory
  • Residential-use furniture
  • Decorative items (wall art, decor, etc.)

Application Process - Generalized

Step 1

Completion of required training course through Santa Clara University or an approved equivalent certification.

Step 2

Completion & submission of Smart Start Business Development Application to Portsmouth Economic Development.

Step 3

Portsmouth Economic Development reviews completed application and required documentation.

Step 4

If approved, applicant enters into a Grant Agreement with the EDA. Applicant has 30 days to begin business activities and 90 days to complete them.

Application

Point of Contact for Application

Funding Requested

Please provide a brief summary of the planned business activities and a timeline of completion utilizing grant funds.
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Declaration

By signing below, I attest that I have reviewed the details of the Smart Start Business Development Grant Program Guidelines as stated above and agree to the submission of this request to the Portsmouth Economic Development Authority (EDA).

I understand and agree that all grant agreements and awards are at the sole discretion of the Portsmouth EDA Board of Commissioners and because all information furnished in connection with this application for the Smart Start Business Acceleration Grant program involves the use of public funds and as such, may be made public pursuant to the statutes of the United States of America, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the City of Portsmouth.

I understand that the application is not finalized until the issuance of a grant award letter by the Portsmouth EDA authorizing the commencement of grant-funded activities.

I understand that eligible grant-funded business activities must begin no later than 30 days from the date of the issuance of a grant award letter by the Portsmouth EDA, and the deadline for completion is 90 days from the date of the issuance of a grant award letter. Applicants may request 90 day extensions. Requests for extension must be outlined in a letter directed to the Portsmouth EDA staff, the Portsmouth Economic Development Office, and will be granted on a case-by-case basis. Any subsequent extensions must be at Portsmouth EDA’s sole discretion and will require a vote of the Portsmouth EDA Board of Commissioners.

All business owners, partners, etc. must sign this application form. If the business is owned by a legal entity, organization, or corporation, the applicant must supply corporate legal documents authorizing signer. If signing on behalf of an entity, please state the entity name and your position after the signature. For questions on completing this application, please contact the Portsmouth Economic Development staff at 757.393.8804.