Skip to main content

Small Business Relief Fund

Small Business Relief Fund

Funding opportunities to support businesses impacted by COVID-19

Small business and nonprofit relief application period closed


The application period for the Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund (Round 5) is now closed. See application status updates for more information. 

An interactive tool that displays the impacts of the first four rounds of funding, including more than 4,600 small business relief grants totaling more than $44.7 million can be found on Hennepin County’s Small Business Relief Fund impacts page.


On this page: 


Application status updates

If you applied for Hennepin County’s Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund (Round 5) that closed on January 14, 2021 and would like a status update, please read the information below:

  • We are processing the high volume of applications for small business and nonprofit relief funding (Round 5). So far, we have processed 1,019 grants and have approved $13.3 million for distribution.
  • If you would like to verify the authenticity of correspondence from NextStage or other entities, please email, and forward the correspondence in question.
  • Applicants that have not received received communication about their grant yet can expect an update on from program administrator NextStage, a nonprofit consultant to Hennepin County, regarding their application by February 16.
  • If have been asked to provide additional documentation by Next Stage to review your application, doing so quickly and providing ALL documents requested will help the process move forward more efficiently. Additional documentation must be provided by the deadline provided in the communication from Next Stage, or your funding position may be forfeited.
  • If you received communication that you are ineligible due to tax liens, Hennepin County and NextStage do not have the ability to re-consider the application due to state requirements.
  • Note regarding nonprofit eligibility: Funds for this grant round were provided by the State of Minnesota, and per the legislation that established the program, only nonprofits that earn revenue similar to businesses are eligible for funding. Examples of eligible nonprofits include nonprofit arts organizations, nonprofit museums, and nonprofit fitness centers that sell tickets or charge membership fees in fee-for-service models like for-profit businesses. Nonprofits that earn a portion of their revenue through event-based fundraisers are not eligible for this fund.

Funding and selection process

The Hennepin County Board committed CARES resources throughout 2020 to provide sufficient resources to fund all eligible businesses that applied and completed the necessary paperwork to the Hennepin County Small Business Relief Fund Rounds 1-3 held in May – August 2020.

  • In Round 4 held in November-December 2020, CARES resources were sufficient to fund 76% of businesses that met eligibility criteria by end of 2020.  The allocation of $24.6 million provided by the State of Minnesota for small business relief now makes it possible for 100% of businesses that met eligibility criteria in Round 4 to receive funds by end of January 2021.

  • In all funding rounds, businesses were deemed eligible to receive grant funds based on criteria like business size, revenue impacts due to COVID-19, and eligible expenses, and were processed in randomized order.

  • Geographic location, race, ethnicity, or gender identity were not factors in eligibility or prioritization.

  • Hennepin County translated materials and worked with community partners to promote each round of funding, and worked to ensure that business owners across Hennepin County had equitable access to the application opportunities available.


Prior rounds of Hennepin County Small Business Relief funding 

Since May 2020, Hennepin County has approved $44.7 million in small business relief grants through four prior funding rounds:

  • Round 1 (April 27-May 8): Grants up to $10,000 for businesses with 1-20 employees
  • Round 2 (May 19-29): Grants up to $5,000 for self-employed entrepreneurs
  • Round 3 (July 30-August 12): Grants up to $15,000 for businesses with 1-50 employees
  • Round 4 (November 23-December 1): Restaurants, bars, fitness, and entertainment venues directly impacted by Executive Order 20-99 were able to apply for grants up to $15,000. Business owners who applied have been notified of the status of funding. If you applied and have not received an email communication from Hennepin County or NextStage, please contact
  • Round 5 (January 4-14): Small businesses and nonprofits that earn revenue similar to businesses. Funds for this grant round were provided by the State of Minnesota. We are currently processing these grants. See application status updates for more information. 

Connecting to resources, interpreter services

To learn more about other resources and initiatives in Hennepin County, please visit the Hennepin County’s resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 page.

To receive additional updates, sign up for our business support newsletter.

Hennepin County offers free interpreter services upon request. Please email

Para asistencia / / Yog xav tau kev pab / / Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay /