CEDS Finance Small Business Grant Program

CEDS Finance in partnership with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), has made funding available to be distributed as grants to underserved small businesses in Colorado. The objective of this program is to address capital accessibility disparities for startup and existing small businesses, aiming to promote economic development in the State with an emphasis on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Grants of $5,000 will be awarded to underserved small businesses based on the eligibility criteria, with a priority on low-income status. Applications will then be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis until all grant funds are disbursed.

The grant application period is now closed. Applicants will be notified of the decision by June 3rd, 2024. If you have any questions regarding your application, please visit our FAQ’s or email grants@cedsfinance.org

The grant application portal will open on Wednesday, May 1st at 10:00 AM and close on Friday, May 3rd at 5:00 PM

Business must Be/Have:

  • Registered and in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State.
    • Watch a recording of our webinar here. This webinar covers how to verify that registered businesses are in Good Standing and correct that status if not. We also review how to register sole proprietorships that have been reported on taxes but have not registered with the state.
  • Located with primary business activities and majority of employees in Colorado
  • For-profit small businesses.
  • No more than 25 full time equivalent employees.
  • No more than $2 million in gross annual revenue in the preceding fiscal year. 
  • An Underserved* small business

Ineligible Businesses:

  • Non-profits
  • Lenders
  • Gambling
  • Federally illegal business
  • Oil & gas
  • Anything involving prurient sexual nature
  • Political or lobbying activities
  • Indoctrinating religion or religious beliefs
  • Exclusive membership
  • Speculative business
  • Investments or Grant packaging
  • Money services

*An underserved business (as defined by OEDIT) is one that is majority-owned (51% or greater) by individuals from one or more of the following groups:

  • Ethnic or racial minority group(s);
  • Refugee(s) or immigrant(s);
  • Women;
  • Individuals with disabilities;
  • LGBTQ+ individuals;
  • Veterans;
  • Residents of rural counties in Colorado are defined as those with a population of less than 250,000, according to the most recent U.S. Census data; and/or
  • Individuals with a low-income status are defined as having an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) that is 80% or less than the median income for the state of Colorado, as determined by the latest HUD publications.
    • For more information on how to determine this, visit the FAQs
  • This inclusive approach ensures that our support reaches those who need it most, promoting diversity, equity, and economic growth throughout Colorado’s small business sector.
  1. Determine Eligibility by reviewing the Eligibility Criteria
  2. Secure/Gather your complete recent 2022 or 2023 tax returns, must include Form 1040 and Schedule C and/or K-1.
  3. The grant application portal will open on Wednesday, May 1st at 10:00 AM
  4. Submit a complete application with documents before May 3, 2024 5:00 PM (eligible applications will be processed, prioritized based on income status and then awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is best to submit a complete application as early as possible)
  5. Once you’ve completed the application process, you’ll be directed to a page confirming that your application has been submitted. Additionally, please note that you’ll receive a confirmation email for your grant submission. However, it may take up to 24 hours for this email to appear in your inbox.
  6. CEDS Finance expects to make final award decisions by June 30, 2024 . CEDS Finance will notify you of award or decline by email
  7. CEDS Finance expects to disburse grant funds to awardees approximately 7 days of notice of award
    1. ACH (strongly preferred) or check
  8. CEDS will issue a 1099 form by January 31, 2025, showing that grant was awarded and is considered business income by the Internal Revenue Service

Applicants must submit the following documents:

2022 or 2023 Personal Tax Returns* including:

  • Form 1040 + Schedule C;
  • or Form 1040 + K-1

*To learn more about these required forms, please visit the following link.

You will not be required to submit your Certificate of Good Standing with the Colorado Secretary of State; instead CEDS Finance will verify directly that you are in Good Standing.

You have the option to attach these documents directly to your online grant application. Please make sure you attach these documents in a PDF format. Word formats will not be accepted. 

Alternatively, if you prefer to submit physical copies, they must be received by:

Deadline: Friday, May 3rd at 5:00 PM
Location: CEDS Finance, 10660 E Colfax Ave Suite B, Aurora, CO 80010
Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

We aim to support 71 businesses that exhibit a significant need for the $5,000 grant, with a special emphasis on assisting Low-Income applicants. Here’s how we define our selection process: 

  • Priority for Low-Income Applicants: Recognizing the distinct challenges of accessing capital encountered by businesses/owners with lower incomes, CEDS Finance gives these applications top consideration. We adhere to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s guidelines to define “Low-Income,” ensuring our efforts reach those in our community who are most in need of assistance.
  • Application Processing: We will validate income using tax return information (income and dependents) and prioritize Low Income status. Then, we will select awardees on a first-come, first-served basis. This means an Extremely Low Income applicant submitting their application on Friday afternoon will be given precedence over a Moderate Income candidate who applies early on Wednesday morning. Our goal is to ensure that grant awards reach those who need it most and make a tangible difference in the economic landscape for underserved small businesses.

Have questions or need assistance with your application? We’re here to help every step of the way, through webinars or office hours. CEDS Finance is ready to assist applicants in person, ensuring accessible and comprehensive support for all interested parties.

Call us at 720-257-9166 on our dedicated grants hotline. This will be staffed Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM until the grant has closed.

Email us at grants@cedsfinance.org. This email will be carefully monitored through the end of the grant and you should expect to receive a response in one business day or less.

Online Small Business Grants Info Session

This session has passed, but you can watch a recording of the webinar here. At minute 19:00, we walk you through the application.

Visit our offices during these hours:
Application Preparation Support
● Tuesday, April 30th, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM

Application Submission Support
● Wednesday, May 1st, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM (application opens at 10:00 AM)
● Thursday, May 2nd, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM
● Friday, May 3rd, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM

We are located at 10660 E Colfax Ave, Suite B (back parking lot).

Need help ensuring you are registered and in Good Standing with the state of Colorado?
You can watch a recording of our webinar here, which covers verifying the Good Standing status of registered businesses and correcting it if necessary. Additionally, we provide guidance on registering sole proprietorships that have been reported on taxes but have not yet been registered with the state.

Individual support on verifying your registration status:
● Visit our offices on Wednesday, April 24th from 12:30 PM – 5:00 PM for support on a first-come, first-served basis
Reserve an individual appointment for support.
Appointments are limited. Most appointments are available only through Google Meet. Late appointments will not be rescheduled.

For more detailed information about eligibility, the application or selection process, please review these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or download the PDF version here:

English

Arabic

Spanish

Somali

You can view the recording of the Small Business Grants Info Session webinar by clicking here. Starting at minute 19:00, we provide a detailed walkthrough of the application process.

First Name

Middle Name

Last Name

Home Address

City

State of Residence

Email

Retype Email Address

  • If your email is entered incorrectly, you will not receive any communications about the grant.

Phone Number

Country of Origin

Is your business registered with the Colorado Secretary of State?

  • It also must be in Good Standing. We will verify this directly on the Secretary of State website.

In what state does your business primarily operate?

What is the legal name of your business?

  • This legal name must match with the Colorado Secretary of State database.

Is your business for-profit?

Do you have more than 25 full time employees?

  • The State of Colorado defines a Full-Time Employee as an employee who works for a minimum of 32 hours per work week.

In your last tax return, did your business achieve sales of more than $2 million?

  • If you are unsure about this number, please refer to your 1040 Form or Schedule C.
  • To learn more about these required forms, please visit the following link.

Does your business classify under the following activities: lending, gambling, illegal federal business, oil & gas, political or lobbying activities, indoctrinating religion or religious beliefs, speculative membership, investments or grant packaging, money services, or anything involving prurient sexual nature?

What is your annual income?

  • The IRS defines annual household income as “the adjusted gross income from your tax return”. This amount is found on Line 11 on your IRS Income Return (Form 1040) you’re submitting.

How many individuals are you claiming as dependents in your most recent tax return?

  • This can be determined by counting the dependents listed on your IRS Income Return (Form 1040).
  • To learn more about these required forms, please visit the following link.

Did you file these tax returns jointly with your spouse?

Will you be submitting 2022 or 2023 tax returns?

  • You should submit the latest tax returns you have filed.

Please attach your 2022 or 2023 personal tax returns. Make sure you include Form 1040 and Schedule C and/or K-1.

  • If you prefer to submit a physical copy of your tax returns, you can do so as long as you submit these documents before Friday, May 3rd at 17:00 (5pm)
  • To learn more about these required forms, please visit the following link.

Do you identify as any of the following:

  • Refugee
  • Immigrant
  • LGBTQ
  • Veteran
  • Racial Minority
  • Person with Disability
  • I do not wish to respond

What is your gender?

  • Female
  • Male
  • Non-binary
  • I do not wish to respond

What is your country or origin?

  • The country where you were born

Would you like to receive our newsletter?

  • yes
  • no
  • I already receive it

How did you hear about this grant?

– CEDS Finance Email Newsletter
– CEDS Finance Staff Member
– Friends or Family
– Google Advertisement
– Partner Organization
– Social Media
– Other
Any additional information we need to know?
  • Please note that this field is optional and this information will NOT BE USED for eligibility or decision purposes. For most business owners, you will leave this blank.

I certify that the information above is correct to the best of my knowledge. I authorize CEDS Finance to make inquiries, as necessary, to verify the accuracy of the reported and submitted information presented by me.

  • Provide your signature by typing your full, legal name below.
FAQs