Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has announced a new grant program for Montgomery County small businesses to help them promote their products and services prior to the holiday shopping season.

Glimmernet participated in the information session on November 10th and assembled this quick guide to the grant in order to help businesses determine their eligibility and to help eligible businesses apply for the grant. While we believe all of this to be accurate, please consult official documentation for this grant on the COVID-19: Resources for Businesses page.

What is the Online Sales and Telework Grants program?

The Online Sales and Telework Grant program is a grant program designed to help businesses in Montgomery County with their holiday and winter marketing. Funding for the Online Sales and Telework Grant Program was appropriated to the Maryland Department of Commerce under the American Recovery Act and will be distributed through a partnership between Montgomery County and Visit Montgomery, pending approval by the County Council.

What can the grant funds be used for?

According to https://montgomerycomd.blogspot.com/2021/11/online-sales-and-telework-grants.html:

The grant funds can be used for costs such as developing or improving their websites and social media presence or providing assistance with telework expenses to help support customer activities.

Some of our customers have said that they plan to use the funds to create new website, overhaul their old website, add ecommerce functionality, add multilingual support, and/or add compliance features to help their site become more accessible to those with disabilities.

Others plan to use the funds to run social media marketing or paid advertising search campaigns to promote their products, services, and solutions.

The possibilities are endless, and we can work with businesses to determine the best strategy and how to properly allocate the grant funds to achieve the best return on investment and maximize the value of this grant!

Who is eligible for the Online Sales and Telework Grants program?

Furthermore, priority  will be given to companies with fewer than 20 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) and businesses that have not received a COVID-19 Business Relief grant or loan from the Maryland Department of Commerce or a grant from the Maryland Department of Labor for the purchase of equipment to assist in the expansion of opportunities for telework.

It was initially presented that it was a requirement to have fewer than 20 FTE employees and be an established business, but this shifted to being a priority system where businesses in this second group may  be considered even though they don’t appear to immediately qualify. It was unclear during the call if new businesses with 20 FTE would definitely  be included in the award pool or if this was just a contingency for not having enough small businesses to consider. The representative also left open the possibility of these larger companies receiving a different pro-rata share of the award pool compared to the first group.

In short, we have no idea how the awards will be calculated other than it being a pro-rata share of the award pool that is calculated based on the number of qualified applicants.

Here are some more details:

  • This grant is available to for-profit and not-for-profit companies as well as sole proprietors
  • This is not a need-based grant
  • Each applicant will receive a pro-rata share of the $789,000 of total funding available. Therefore, the actual grant amounts will be determined by the total number of eligible applicants.
  • The maximum grant awarded to any one company is $10,000.00
  • To apply, companies must be registered on in the Discover MoCo directory before completing their grant application. The link to this is below.
  • You may submit your Discover MoCo application at any time; you do not need to wait for the grant application period to open.
  • The grant application period is from 9:00 am Friday November 19th, 2021 until 11:50 pm (Midnight) Friday November 19th
  • Wait until at least 24 hours after submitting your Discover MoCo application to submit your grant application
  • This is not a first-come-first-serve program so there is no rush to submit your application early. Simply submit your application anytime during the application period to be considered.

How to apply:

  1. Register your business at Discover MoCo at https://visitmontgomery.com/discover-moco/submit/
  2. Complete the grant application form between November 12th and November 19th, 2021 at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/Biz-Resources/telework-grant/apply.html

Submitting the Discover MoCo application

Glimmernet submitted our Discover MoCo application earlier today and it was a fast and painless process of filling out some basic information on the business. This is a marketing directory so any information you put in there is designed to be public info, so there is no need to enter tax IDs or anything like that so most of it is information that a business owner could enter without needing to look up any data. There is a space to enter links to social media platforms and a space to upload photos. You will need to upload at least one photo that’s not your logo.

If you do not have a website, let us know and we can get you a landing page up quickly so that you can add it to your Discover MoCo profile as entering a website is a required field and is required for the grant application later.

Submitting the Grant Application

Submitting the grant application is incredibly easy.  You’ll want to have your Tax ID handy and also know the number of full time equivalent (FTE) employees on staff.  If you’re not sure how many FTEs you have, visit https://fitsmallbusiness.com/what-is-fte/

Once you have that information handy, head to https://montgomerycountymd.gov/Biz-Resources/telework-grant/apply.html to apply.  The application process is 5 quick pages of data and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

Screenshots of the application appear below so you can see exactly what questions are on the application.  Click on the thumbnails to see the full-size image.

Questions?

We’re here to help as best we can. We want to make sure that all small businesses in Montgomery county takes advantage of the COVID-19 options that are available. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via phone, email, or chat (below) if we can be of any assistance with the grant, web design, social media marketing or anything else.