If you don’t see your question/or have further questions, please email grants@merchantsfund.org.

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  • Eligibility

A business must meet all of these eligibility requirements to successfully receive a Stabilization Grant from The Merchants Fund.

  • Business is located in Philadelphia;
  • Business is independently owned and operated (franchises are eligible if independently owned and operated);
  • Business has been in operations for a minimum of two years;
  • Business is the owner’s primary source of income;
  • Business operates a storefront or physical location (food trucks and kiosks are eligible);
  • Business is in compliance with all federal, state, and local taxes (or on an approved payment plan);
  • Business has the required federal, state, and local licenses and permits to operate legally;
  • Business has been in current operations for the last 90 days and plans to continue operating;
  • Business made no less than $75,000 in total sales (also known as revenues) in the last tax year and no more than $750,000 in the last tax year;
  • Business must be able to show a financial need for the potential grant.

We have an amazing group of partners throughout Philadelphia, who are experienced and able to assist in the application process. A list that is broken down by geographic region/neighborhood can be found HERE or you can reach out to grants@merchantsfund.org to be connected to a partner.

No, we ask that you complete these tax returns to meet eligibility requirements. Please contact one of our partners or grants@merchantsfund.org to be connected to potential tax preparers and accountants.

We ask that you either submit a 2022 profit and loss statement or 2022 tax returns. This gives us a better picture of the business’ current financial health. If you do not have a bookkeeping system that can prepare them or an accountant that can prepare them, you can use this simple template found HERE. Additionally, you can learn more about how to create a profit and loss statement watching this VIDEO. Lastly, if you are struggling to complete this, you can reach out to coach@merchantsfund.org for more assistance.

Firstly, we understand how hard it can be to operate a small business. Multiple members of our staff have owned or currently own small businesses in Philadelphia. It is often exhausting, rewarding, stressful, exhilarating, and axciety enducing all wrapped into one! However, TMF Stabilization Grants are not to be used for monthly expenses. Unfortunately, we do not gift funds to cover cash shortfalls.

(Example: George’s Restaurant makes $20,000 a month but spends $25,000 in expenses. The restaurant is behind on rent, utilities, and may not meet payroll this month. Though George tries, the business is simply not covering its bills.) These past due bills and typical monthly expenses are ineligible for a TMF grant.

One time large expenses or events–a broken piece of equipment, a road closure that disturbs foot traffic, a flood event, are all eligible for TMF grants.

No. Any legally operating business is eligible to apply.

A debt schedule is simply all of your business debts compiled into one place. To prepare for the application, we ask that you have a list of all of your current business debts and the associated interest.

For example, a list may look like:

  • Family Loan – Original Amount $50,000, Current Amount $20,000, Monthly Payment N/A, Interest Rate 0%.
  • Chase Credit Card – Current Amount $10,100, Monthly Payment $250, Interest Rate 12%.
  • SBA Loan – Original Amount $25,000, Current Amount $5,500, Monthly Payment $200, Interest Rate 5.5%.

Businesses must show a clear need for a grant. The grant should help a business sustain or grow operations.

An example to sustain business operations: George’s Bakery experienced an electrical issue that destroyed its’ deck oven. George’s bakery requests $10,000 to replace the oven and continue operations.

An example to grow business operations: Joe’s Barbershop is seeing an increase in customers. Lines are long and they have to turn people away. Joe would like to purchase 3 new barber chairs to service more customers but doesn’t have the money to do so. Joe requests a $10,000 TMF grant to purchase more chairs and grow the business.

Though you can submit more than one application a year, businesses will only receive one grant a year. We trust that businesses will apply when they have a specific need for the grant. Applying multiple times or as quickly as possible will not increase the likelihood of receiving a grant. In fact, we ask that you limit the number of applications you submit to only request a grant when specifically needed.

Businesses that have already received a grant from TMF are eligible to apply again, but are reviewed on a stricter basis. Our goal is to help as many businesses as possible in the City of Philadelphia.

TMF will have 3 grant cycles spread throughout the 2023 calendar year.

  • Cycle 1 – Applications open February 1 to February 28. Grant decisions and disbursements made by March 31
  • Cycle 2 – Applications open May 1 to May 31. Grant decisions and disbursements made by June 30
  • Cycle 3 – Applications open Aug 1 to August 31. Grant decisions and disbursements made by September 30

Emergency Grants are approved on a rolling basis as funds are available.

All TMF grantees are eligible for free business coaching. Email coach@merchantsfund.org to schedule your first appointment. Likewise, you can learn more about our business coaching by clicking HERE. If you are ultimately awarded a grant, you will then become eligible for business coaching. Likewise, if your application is ultimately denied, we will provide the reasons for denial, action items to assist you and your business, and–if available–access to TMF coaching.

Our goal is to review all applications and notify applicants of our decision within 30-45 days of submission.

If deemed necessary, TMF will request a site visit with an applicant where we will meet you in person at your place of business and learn more about your business’ operations, your business story, and your goals. No additional action is required, except scheduling the meeting. It is one of our favorite parts of the job – learning about our grantees, their businesses, and helping them achieve their goals.

You can check out the glossary HERE if you’d like some definitions of common business terms.

Examples of Eligible Uses of Funds:

  • Replace failing equipment or upgrade equipment to meet new opportunities or customer needs;
  • Repair issues with the commercial space or upgrade the commercial space to meet new opportunities and customer needs;
  • Take advantage of new growth opportunities (upgrade e-commerce platform, purchase new payment processing systems, purchase new equipment or items to increase your revenue streams or product lines);
  • Use funds to operationalize business (bookkeeping, website creation, etc.). This is often done in tandem with TMF support and coaching. 

In very specific circumstances, Stabilization Grants can be used to pay down debt or purchase inventory. Specific instances may include: accrued debt used to continue operations during a disaster (flood, road closures, fire, etc.), purchasing bulk inventory to save on costs or prepare for a large event, assisting a stable/profitable business to pay debts that were accrued when the business was struggling, etc.

Examples of Ineligible Uses of Funds:

  • Building cash reserves or a “rainy day” fund; 
  • Normal working capital expenses such as rent, payroll, day-to-day inventory, or past due debts due to lack of profitability;
  • Owner salary;
  • Unclear, ambiguous grant asks (e.g. ‘I will use the money to improve my business and help my customers.’)