On Wednesday, August 12, Secretary Toland and members of the Department of Commerce held a webinar with local officials, economic development professionals and industry partners to review the 10 different economic development and connectivity grants being made available through the SPARK Recovery Office. You can watch that webinar by clicking here.
On Friday, August 15, the Department of Commerce’s Office of Broadband Development held a webinar to share details and requirements for the connectivity grants being made available through the SPARK Recovery Office. You can watch that webinar by clicking here.
You can email any questions about grant application and eligibility to BackToBusiness@ks.gov. The Department of Commerce also has an online chat feature on this website that will be staffed by Commerce team members Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. You can chat with us by clicking the chat icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen while visiting kansascommerce.gov.
The application portal for both Economic Development and Connectivity (Broadband) grants being made by the SPARK Task Force using CARES Act funds will open Wednesday, August 19 at 12PM at kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief. This includes grants to small businesses and nonprofits that have incurred losses of more than 25% of revenues during COVID, among other eligible categories.
There are 11 grant categories:
Small Business Working Capital Grants
Securing Local Food Systems Grants
PPE Procurement Grants
Minority-, Women- and Veteran-owned Businesses
The application portal will remain open until all funds have been expended.
To be eligible for a Small Business Working Capital or PPE Procurement grant, businesses must have been in operation since at least July 1, 2019. Operation dates vary for all other grant applications.
Businesses must have 500 or fewer employees to be eligible for a grant. However, there are some grants that have lower employee thresholds for grant eligibility. The number of employees is based on Full-Time Equivalent employees (i.e., 1 FTE = 40 hrs/week; 0.5 FTE = 20 hrs/week).
Yes. Franchises are eligible to apply for SPARK economic development and connectivity grants.
Yes. Individuals with multiple businesses can apply for funding for each registered business. NOTE: A separate application must be completed for each business to be considered.
Business who have received prior local, state and/or federal funding (including grants and loans) totaling no more than $350,000 are still eligible to receive additional grant funding. Businesses who have received a total of more than $350,000 are not eligible to apply but can file an appeal as part of the application process. Appeal determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Yes. Businesses can apply for any grant for which they meet the basic eligibility requirements.
A separate application will be required for each grant for which a business wishes to be considered.
Documentation required depends on which grant program for which an application is being submitted.
No supporting documentation is required for Small Business Working Capital Grants, Securing Local Food Systems Grants, PPE Procurement Grants or Broadband Partnership Adoption Grants; however, a business can be audited to determine if information such as past revenues was accurately provided within the application.
Supporting documentation is required for the Connectivity Emergency Response Grant. Required documentation includes:
Documentation will also be required for PPE Manufacturing Grants, COVID-19 Bioscience Product Development Acceleration Grants, Domestic Supply Chain Fortification Grants; Kansas Tech College Advanced Manufacturing Grants and IT, Cybersecurity & IT Project Management Certification Grants. However, that documentation is not required to submit your interest in these grant programs. A Department of Commerce team member will connect directly with applicants for these grants and review the full scopes of work and requirements.
Yes. The receipt of a government grant by a business generally is not excluded from the business’ gross income under the Code and is therefore taxable. However, a grant made by the government of a federally recognized Indian tribe to a member to expand in Indian-owned business on or near reservations is excluded from the member’s gross income under the general welfare exclusion. (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/cares-act-coronavirus-relief-fund-frequently-asked-questions)
Per federal CARES Act guidelines, any awarded funds must be spent by December 30, 2020. Should this change, we will communicate that information to you.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are submitted. We anticipate a high volume of applications submitted, and that will determine how quickly individual applications are reviewed and award decisions made.
The Kansas Department of Commerce and its partners will review applications and make award decisions as quickly as possible while ensuring that awardees meet all state and federal requirements for funding. Notification of awards will occur as soon as possible.
At this time, there is no set timeline for distribution of grant funds. Those who are awarded funds will be notified individually of when funds will be transferred.
Funds will be transferred from the Department of Commerce electronically to your bank after execution of a grant agreement.
The intent of the SPARK economic development grants is to provide support for businesses who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, which is why businesses are required to demonstrate a loss to be eligible.
Purchases for personal protection equipment for employees and customers such as: face masks and shields, cleaning and sanitizing supplies, signage communicating public health guidelines, technology upgrades related to teleworking and costs of physical barriers/sneeze guards and office redesign to provide adequate separation between employees or between employees and customers.