COVID-19 Business Resources

Regional Microenterprise Grant Program

Unless otherwise posted, funding is still available and there is no deadline. 

Please note that there are two changes to the Round V application.

1.) The start date of a business opening has been extended from Oct. 2019 to March 2019. The grant is now available to any business that has opened prior to March 10, 2020.

2.) Also, as the year goes on and 2020 taxes are done, businesses can use those tax numbers for the LMI requirement. 2019 taxes will still be valid too.

3.) If your micro-enterprise has been funded previously via the Regional Microenterprise Grant program, your business can apply for a second round of funding.  The eligible expenses must be different than the first time.  For example, if you were awarded funding for rent assistance in the first round, and you request rent assistance again - they must be for different months. 

Please continue to use the same link to access the application with MGCC:

More Information

A $4,950,000 grant from the Department of Housing & Community Development to assist small businesses in 23 cities and towns across the Metropolitan Boston Region are available from Fall 2020 until November 2021. In addition to Canton, the other communities that are part of the coalition include: Ashland, Beverly, Burlington, Concord, Dedham, Essex, Lexington, Manchester by the Sea, Marlborough, Melrose, Milton, Natick, North Reading, Norwood, Randolph, Reading, Sharon, Southborough, Stoneham, Watertown, Winchester or Woburn.

The funding is being made through the competitive Community Development Block Grant Program being utilized to address emergency needs in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. This funding will support small businesses affected by the recent outbreak.

Specifically, the grant award for Canton and the other 22 communities will be utilized to award individual grants of up to $10,000 for microenterprise businesses. A microenterprise is defined as a commercial enterprise that has 5 or fewer employees, 1 or more of whom owns the enterprise and must be a for-profit entity. Business type exclusions to the grant include: Real estate rentals/sales businesses, businesses owned by persons under age 18, businesses that are chains, liquor stores, weapons/firearms dealers, lobbyists or Cannabis-related businesses.

As the lead community for the regional effort, the Town of Ashland will work closely with the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (“MGCC”) to administer and oversee the grant program. An application will become available in August or early September. Individual cities and towns will be responsible for distributing application information to microenterprises in their community. Businesses should contact the Town Planner, Laura Smead, for more information and updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ's will be updated as we learn more about the program guidelines.

What is the definition of a microenterprise business? 5 or less employees (whether full-time or part-time), including the business owner.

For microenterprises, what is the date of the “count” of number of employees? It would be at the time that the business applies for assistance.

What is LMI and what are the requirements for this grant? LMI is low-and-moderate income persons. An individual is considered to be LMI based on their annualized family income. Overall, to be classified as LMI, an individual or family's household income must be less than or equal to 80% of the median income for the area where they reside.

Applicants must meet one of the following criteria below:

-The owner(s) of the microenterprise are LMI persons (≤80% of the area median income (AMI), based on family size).

- The service activity of the microenterprise is primarily residential, where at least 51% of the residents are low-and-moderate (LMI) persons, and the microenterprises services meet the needs of the service area residents. The microenterprise must serve only that area. (This is not typically the case for Canton microenterprises).

How do I find out what the AMI is for where I live? Click the HUD calculation link HERE. Most Canton businesses owners fall under the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy MA area.

If there are multiple owners, do all need to meet LMI requirements in order to be eligible or does just one need to be eligible? If two owners, both must be eligible.

How long does a business have to be open to qualify for this grant? Must be in business as of 03/10/2020 and have a physical establishment (which can be a home).

How much money can one business apply for? Up to $10,000

What documents will I need to submit with the application? Applicants will be required to submit documentation to support all provided information. The following list identifies the required documents that will be requested at the time in which applications are submitted:

• DUNS number

• W-9 Form Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification

• 2019 or 2020 Certificate of Good Standing

• Copies of 2018, 2019, or 2020 business and personal tax returns for all owners with a 20% or greater ownership in the microenterprise

• Documentation to demonstrate that COVID-19 has caused a loss of income equal to or greater than requested assistance

• Itemized details of how the funds will be spent with supporting documentation

How is “currently in operation” defined? If a business was in operation but closed because of COVID, it would make sense that the business should be eligible for this funding. “Currently in operation” means that the business has not permanently closed, gone out of business, filed for bankruptcy.

Can businesses buy equipment with grant funding? The purchase of equipment, fixtures, furnishings, property with CDBG funds is generally ineligible. Funding may be used for rent, mortgage assistance, utilities or payroll.

Are home-based businesses eligible? For example: landscapers, contractors, artists, daycares, consultants, etc. Legitimately licensed commercial businesses may be considered eligible for assistance.

Can the funds be used to assist a business owner with making payments on a loan that they received prior to the start of the pandemic, even if it’s for an equipment purchase? Funds may be used for working capital to cover business costs, such as rent, staffing, and utilities. Microenterprise Assistance Program funds may not be used for major equipment purchases, purchase of real property, construction activities, business expansion, or lobbying.

How do I apply? What are the next steps? Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) will serve as the Program Administrator. Applications are available here ( and there is no deadline. Businesses interested in applying must complete and submit the application electronically through MGCC’s online application portal. Hard copies or electronic copies submitted in any other way, such as mailed in or emailed, will not be considered.

Need Help Applying?  

For Advice: Try the Mass Small Business Development Center Network.  Their services are free, and there is a local Senior Advisor who can help.  The organization can work on all the CARES Act programs (EIDL, PPP, etc.) and now the new grants from Mass Growth Capital. Nancy Lowd, Senior Advisor (; 508.673.9783)

For help securely scanning documents: Call the Bank of Canton call center (888) 828-1690 and request the Washington Street branch or the Rte. 138 branch. You will be directed to a customer service representative who can schedule a time for you to come into the branch. You may bring in whatever documents you need scanned to the appointment. The Bank of Canton will help to scan and securely email the documents to the business owner.

If you have any technical issues on Submittable, please contact Mass Growth Capital by visiting the Help Center

For any other questions regarding the applications, please contact MGCC at or email Laura Smead, Town Planner at