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Economic Development & Connectivity FAQ

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.

Applications & Eligibility

Who Can I Contact With Questions About The Grant Application Or Eligibility?

You can email any questions about grant application and eligibility to [email protected]. 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.

How Do I Apply For A Grant?

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:

  1. Small Business Working Capital Grant
  2. Securing Local Food Systems Grant
  3. PPE Procurement Grant
  4. Connectivity Emergency Response Grant
  5. Broadband Partnership Adoption Grant
  6. PPE Manufacturing Grant
  7. COVID-19 Bioscience Product Development Acceleration Grant
  8. Domestic Supply Chain Fortification Grant
  9. Higher Education Advanced Manufacturing & IT Equipment Grant
  10. IT, Cybersecurity & IT Project Management Grant
  11. University SARS-CoV-2/COVID Research and Diagnostic Capacity Support Grant

What Is The Maximum Grant My Business Can Receive?

Small Business Working Capital Grants

  • Award amounts for Small Business Working Capital grants vary by business activity. Access the application and select a “Business Activity” type from the drop down menu to determine your the maximum award amount for each type.

Securing Local Food Systems Grants

  • Grocery – up to $125,000 depending on weekly sales
  • Meat Processors – up to $100,000 depending on project scope
  • Producers/Food Banks/Food Processors – up to $100,000 depending on project scope

PPE Procurement Grants

  • Organizations can receive $100/FTE up to $10,000.

Minority-, Women- and Veteran-owned Businesses

  • An additional 10% will be added to the base award for verified minority-, women-, disadvantaged- and veteran business enterprises when awarded a Small Business Working Capital grant and/or a Securing Local Food Systems grant.
When Does The Application Portal Close?

The application portal will remain open until all funds have been expended.

How Long Must My Business Have Been In Operation To Be Eligible To Receive A Grant?

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.

What Is The Maximum Number Of Employees A Company Can Have To Be Eligible For A Grant?

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).

Who Is Eligible For Each Grant?

Grant eligibility for each of the 10 grants can be found here.

Are 501(C)(3)S Eligible?

Yes.

Are 501(C)(6)S Eligible?

Yes.

Are Sole Proprietors Eligible?

Yes.

Are Franchises Eligible For Grants?

Yes. Franchises are eligible to apply for SPARK economic development and connectivity grants.

I Own Multiple Businesses. Can I Receive Individual Grants For Each Business?

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.

If I Received Local, State Or Federal Funding Related To COVID-19, Am I Still Eligible To Receive A Small Business Working Capital, PPE Procurement Or Securing Local Food Systems Grant?

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.

Can A Business Apply For Grants In More Than One Category?

Yes. Businesses can apply for any grant for which they meet the basic eligibility requirements.

If A Business Is Eligible For More Than One Grant, Do They Have To Complete Different Applications, Or Will Your Office Pull From Different Grants Based On Their Various Requests?

A separate application will be required for each grant for which a business wishes to be considered.

Is There Any Documentation That Will Be Required As Part Of The Application Process?

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:

  • project summary
  • map showing the proposed service area
  • evidence of need, technical evaluation
  • evidence demonstrating scalability of project
  • evidence of applicant experience in building and operating broadband networks
  • project milestones
  • project budget

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.

Are Grant Awards Taxable?

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)

Key Dates & Milestones

When Does The Grant Award Have To Be Spent?

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.

How Quickly Will My Application Be Reviewed?

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.

When Will I Be Notified Of The Award Decision?

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.

Who Will Determine Whether Or Not My Business Is Approved For A Grant?

Final decisions on grant awards are made by the SPARK Recovery Office.

When Will I Receive The Grant Funds After My Application Is Accepted And Approved?

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.

How Will I Receive The Grant Funds, If Approved?

Funds will be transferred from the Department of Commerce electronically to your bank after execution of a grant agreement.

How Do You Calculate Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Employees?

Full-time equivalent (FTE) employees will be figured by the following formula:

40 Hour Week

0-5 hours0 Person
6-15 hours1/4 Time Person
16-25 hours1/2 Time Person
26-35 hours3/4 Time Person
36-40 hoursFull-time Employee

Small Business Working Capital Grants

Why Do I Have To Demonstrate A Loss In Revenue To Be Eligible For A Small Business Working Capital Grant?

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.

Can I Apply For The PPE Procurement Grant And Still Be Eligible For The Small Business Working Capital Grant?

Yes. As long as your business is eligible for both grants.

PPE Procurement Grants

What COVID-19 Purchases Are Eligible For The PPE Procurement Grant?

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.

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