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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Eligibility

Please read our eligibility requirements below along with special considerations and list of ineligible businesses and nonprofits. Please note: you will first need to register your business or nonprofit with www.vcreopens.com, if eligible.

  • Eligibility Requirements:
    • The business or nonprofit organization maintains a business license or IRS Determination Letter in Ventura County.
    • The business or nonprofit organization was in business on, or before, March 17, 2020.
    • In 2019 the business or nonprofit organization had total annual gross revenue between $25,000 and $2 million. For new businesses and nonprofits created on January 1, 2020 and between March 17, 2020, total revenue between January 1, 2020 and July 8, 2020 is  between $25,000 and $2 million. 
    • The business or nonprofit has registered with vcreopens.com if eligible.
    • The nonprofit organization is exempt from tax under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) per an IRS determination letter.
  • Special considerations: Franchises are eligible, except in situations where a franchisor retains power to control operations to such an extent as to be tantamount to an employment contract. The franchisee must have the right to profit from efforts commensurate with ownership. Recreational facilities and clubs are eligible provided: (a) the facilities are open to the general public, or (b) in membership-only situations, membership is not selectively denied to any particular group of individuals, and the number of memberships is not restricted either as a whole or by establishing maximum limits for particular groups. Farms and agricultural businesses are eligible; however, these applicants should first explore the Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs, particularly if the applicant has a prior or existing relationship with FSA. Fishing vessels are eligible. However, those seeking funds for the construction or reconditioning of vessels with a cargo capacity of five tons or more must first request financing from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a part of the U.S. Commerce Department. Medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics, emergency outpatient facilities, and medical and dental laboratories are eligible. Convalescent and nursing homes are eligible, provided they are licensed by the appropriate government agency and services rendered go beyond those of room and board. If selected, a Small Business or a Nonprofit Organization, must use these funds by December 31, 2020 and they may not be used for a different business or nonprofit organization. Funding is not transferrable. Nonprofit Organizations may not use the funds for endowment, reserves, or for providing direct grants, checks, gift cards, or cash support to clients directly. Any grant funding not used by the small business or nonprofit organization by December 31, 2020 must be returned to the Ventura County Community Foundation immediately. 
  • Ineligible businesses and nonprofits: Ineligible businesses include those engaged in illegal activities, loan packaging, speculation, multi-sales distribution, gambling, investment or lending, or where the owner is on parole.  Ineligible businesses further include strip clubs, liquor stores, and those that are cannabis-related.  Ineligible nonprofits include places of worship. Applications will not be accepted from firms where a principal is currently incarcerated, on parole, or on probation; is a defendant in a criminal proceeding; or whose probation or parole is lifted. An Eligible Passive Company (EPC) is a small entity that does not engage in regular and continuous business activity and is not eligible for grant funding from this program. Specific types of businesses and nonprofits not eligible include: Real estate investment firms, when the real property will be held for investment purposes as opposed to loans to otherwise eligible small business concerns for the purpose of occupying the real estate being acquired. Firms involved in speculative activities that develop profits from fluctuations in price rather than through the normal course of trade, such as wildcatting for oil and dealing in commodities futures, when not part of the regular activities of the business. Dealers of rare coins and stamps are not eligible. Firms involved in lending activities, such as banks, finance companies, factors, leasing companies, insurance companies (not agents), and any other firm whose stock in trade is money. Pyramid sales plans, where a participant’s primary incentive is based on the sales made by an ever-increasing number of participants. Such products as cosmetics, household goods, and other soft goods lend themselves to this type of business. Firms involved in illegal activities that are against the law in the jurisdiction where the business is located. Included in these activities are the production, servicing, or distribution of otherwise legal products that are to be used in connection with an illegal activity, such as selling drug paraphernalia or operating a motel that permits illegal prostitution. Gambling activities, including any business whose principal activity is gambling. While this precludes loans to racetracks, casinos, and similar enterprises, the rule does not restrict loans to otherwise eligible businesses, which obtain less than one-third of their annual gross income from either the sale of official state lottery tickets under a state license, or legal gambling activities licensed and supervised by a state authority. Religious, government-owned corporations, consumer and marketing cooperatives, and churches and organizations promoting religious objectives are not eligible.

Application Process

No physical applications will be accepted.
If you need assistance accessing a computer with Internet access, please call 805-600-2875.

To meet the needs of the business community, some Ventura County Library branches will provide limited computer access starting Wednesday June 24, 2020.  A computer with Internet access, a printer and copier will be available by appointment for the purposes of completing the Ventura County Small Business Grant Program application.  

This service is provided at:

  • Hill Road Library, 1070 S. Hill Road, Ventura, CA
    • Monday through Thursday, 1-6pm and Saturdays 1-6pm
    • 805-677-7180
  • Fillmore Library, 502 Second Street, Fillmore, CA
    • Monday through Thursday, 1-6pm and Saturdays 1-6pm
    • 805-524-3355
  • Simi Valley Public Library, 2969 Tapo Canyon Road
    • Monday through Thursday, 10am-6pm, Friday-Saturday 10am-5pm
    • 805-526-1735
  • Ray D. Prueter Library, 510 Park Avenue, Port Hueneme, CA
    • Monday through Saturday, 1-6pm
    • 805-486-5460

People who call one of these libraries can make one hour appointments per day to use a computer to complete the small business grant program applications from the county, or to complete the census only.  Walk-ups may be accommodated only if the computer is available.

Guidelines for people using this service are as follows:

  • Wearing a mask is required inside the library
  • Social distancing of up to six feet is required at all times
  • Restrooms may not be available for public use
  • Other areas of the library and browsing of library collections are not available at this time
  • Please clean computer equipment and hard surfaces you touch after use with provided wipes
  • Staff may only provide limited assistance and must use social distancing at all times
  • This computer may only be used for small business and Census purposes at this time
  • Printing and copying costs are 10 cents per page (black and white only)
  • Bring your Ventura County Library card with you to your appointment, or inform staff at the time you make your appointment if you don’t have a library card

In addition to the four library locations in Ventura, Port Hueneme, Fillmore, and Simi Valley these locations will also be available for small business owners to access computers and complete the business grant application online by appointment only:

  • City of Oxnard (by appt. only)
    • The City of Oxnard will provide two locations, one downtown and one in South Oxnard. Oxnard businesses can call the City of Oxnard Economic Development Division at 805-385-4707 or email maria.santana@oxnard.org to schedule an appointment.
  • City of Thousand Oaks
    • In-person: Visit the main lobby of the Civic Arts Plaza – 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard

No, you may only apply one time even if you own, or co-own, multiple businesses. Only one business will be eligible.

If your business or nonprofit is not initially awarded funding, if qualified, your application will automatically transfer to additional phases for consideration.  You will only need to apply ONE time.  

  • The qualified person applying will need to submit a photo or scanned copy of their current Real ID or Driver’s License,
  • their most recent W-9,
  • a photo or scanned copy of their current Business License or, for nonprofit organizations, a copy of their IRS Determination Letter,
  • and ONE of the following documents to show annual revenue: 2018 or 2019 Income Statement for either their fiscal year or calendar year, OR 2018 or 2019 Tax Return, OR a copy of the business or nonprofit’s bank statement on March 31, 2020.
For Businesses:

City of Ventura

  1. Phone Request — Call (805) 658-4715
  2. Email Request —BL@cityofventura.ca.gov
  3. Online —  cityofventura.ca.gov/1552/Business-License

City of Ojai  

  1. Phone request — Call (805) 646-5581
  2. Online —  ojaicity.org/doing-business-in-ojai

City of Port Hueneme

  1. Phone request — Call (805) 986-6524
  2. Online — ci.port-hueneme.ca.us/409/Business-Licenses 

City of Santa Paula

  1. Phone request — Call (805) 933-4211 Ext. 219
  2. Email request —BusinessLicenseInfo@spcity.org
  3. Online — spcity.org/208/Business-License-Forms 

City of Simi Valley

  1.  Phone request — Call (805) 850-1521
  2. Email request — SimiValley@hdlgov.com
  3. Online —  simivalley.hdlgov.com

Camarillo

Camarillo does not provide copies per se. We can reprint the tax certificate or provide a License Verification Letter (LVL). The LVL is provided in lieu of the tax certificate. There is a $10 fee to reprint the certificate – no cost for the LVL. 

The business should be prepared to provide identifying information with their request; business location, account number, owner name, DBA, FEIN, etc.

  1. Phone request – can call 805-388-5330 Monday – Friday 8am-5pm. 
  2. Email request — businesstax@cityofcamaillo.org
  3. Mail request — City of Camarillo, P.O. Box 37, Camarillo, CA 93011-0037 attn: Business Tax Division.
  4. In-Person request — Business Tax Counter – Camarillo City Hall, 601 Carmen Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010.

Fillmore

  1. Phone request – Call City Hall (805) 524-1500, option 9, option 3.  Staff can either email or mail a copy.
  2. Emailed request – Email shannong@fillmoreca.gov
  3. In person request — Front Counter at City Hall

Moorpark

  1. Phone Request — Business owners may call (805) 517-6243 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and a copy will be emailed or sent via U.S. Mail. 
  2. Email Request –  Business owners may email their request to: Kathy Priestley at kpriestley@moorparkca.gov and a copy will be emailed or sent via U.S. Mail. 
  3. Front Counter at Moorpark City Hall— Business owners may request and/or pick-up a copy at City Hall between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. It is recommended that the initial request be made by phone or email first, so that the certificate can be printed ahead of time for pick-up. Afternoon appointments can be made by calling (805) 517-6243 or by email at kpriestley@moorparkca.gov

*Note: The requestor should have as much identifying information as possible when making their request, such as the business registration number, business name, owner name(s) etc. 

Oxnard

Obtain a copy of a City of Oxnard Business Tax Certificate (BTC):

  1. Phone request – call 805-385-7817 Monday – Thursday 8am to 6pm and 9am-5pm alternate Fridays. Copy of BTC can be emailed, faxed or mailed via USPS.
  2. Email request — ctlicensing@oxnard.org , include business name and address; control number or business tax certificate number.
  3. Fax request — (805)385-7836, include your business name and address; control number or business tax certificate number. 

We give a one-time courtesy copy free of charge.  After that, there is an $11.00 fee for additional copies.  Copies are typically available the same day.

Simi Valley 

  1. Online — Business owners have received an e-mail copy of their business tax certificate if your account was Active/Current. You can obtain a copy of your business tax certificate at simivalley.hdlgov.com

Thousand Oaks

  1. Phone requests — Call 805-449-2201 during business hours
  2. E-mail requests — send requests to businesslicenses@toaks.org. Please include your business name, business address, and contact phone number
  3. In-person – Visit the Finance Public Services desk for assistance

Unincorporated (County)

  1. Phone request – can call 805-654-3744 Monday – Friday 8:30am to 12pm. Request a copy of the license and staff can either email them a copy or put a copy in the mail, whichever the owner requests. 
  2. Emailed request — Tax.Collector@ventura.org. We would need some kind of identifying information from them. Business location, account number, owner name, DBA, etc.
  3. Immediately online at ventura.progressivecloud.net/webrenewals/default.aspx. You will need your account number and security key to get in. This was given on last year’s renewal notice.
  4. Front Counter at the Government Center in Ventura – you will get a temporary copy of the license printed in black and white on TTC’s receipt paper which has a blue watermark. *We are trying to limit people in our office due to COVID-19 so this is not our first choice. 
For Nonprofit Organizations:

If you are a nonprofit and need assistance locating your IRS Determination Letter please visit the IRS website or call the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Customer Account Services at (877) 829-5500 (toll-free number).

A dropdown list in the application is available to assist you. For further information, please visit: https://www.naics.com/search/

You will need to attest that your business was in operation by clicking the box and also submit your bank statement
for March 31, 2020.

We are using the CDFI Map for Disadvantaged Neighborhoods to determine eligibility.

Please select what you might consider the “primary” business location.  If you have an active location in a qualified disadvantaged neighborhood (WE WILL PROVIDE A COPY OF THE MAP), or you have a business location in Camarillo or Moorpark, please use those addresses as there is potential for additional funding. 

 For any questions about the VC Emergency or VC Reopen websites, please email covidcompliance@ventura.org or call 805-202-1805. Businesses/Nonprofits need to press option 5.

Please email us right away at businessassistancegrants@vccf.org with a brief explanation of what happened and what the correct answer should have been, along with your name and business name so we can identify your application and make any changes on your behalf. 

You can click here to fill out a W-9 Form in English or in Spanish.

All businesses are required to register at vcreopens.com with the exception of the following:

  • Assisted living facilities
  • Long term care facilities
  • Home businesses
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous Groups/Meeting

Selection Process

All eligible applications for each selection group will be treated equally based on the criteria as outlined in the Final Protocol. To read more about the selection process, please see the Final Protocol for Ventura County Rapid Response Fund. 

All qualified applicants will be considered together once the application period is closed.

All applications received between June 24, 2020 and July 8, 2020 WILL be considered. This is NOT a “first come first served” program.

Applications will be selected to receive funding based on criteria determined in the Final Protocol:

1st Selection Group (25% of Total Awards)

A total of $1,250,000 will be awarded in $5,000 increments to 250 Eligible Small Businesses where at least 51% of the business is owned by (1) one or more woman (“Woman-Owned Eligible Small Business”) and/or (2) one or more minority (“Minority-Owned Eligible Small Business”). This funding will be awarded via a distinct and separate lottery.  A higher probability for receiving funding will be given to those who have not received PPP or EIDL funding in the random selection process.  Eligible Nonprofits will not be included in this Selection Group.

2nd Selection Group (25% of Total Awards)

A total of $1,250,000 will be awarded in $5,000 increments  to 250 Eligible Small Businesses and Nonprofits, including Woman-Owned Eligible Small Businesses and Minority-Owned Eligible Small Businesses, that (1) maintain one or more business address in a Federally Recognized Disadvantaged Community in Ventura County and (2) did not receive an award in the 1st Selection Group. This funding will be awarded via a distinct and separate lottery. A higher probability for receiving funding will be given to those who have not received PPP or EIDL funding in the random selection process. 

3rd Selection Group (50% of Total Awards)

A total of $2,500,000 will be awarded in $5,000 increments to 500 randomly selected Eligible Small Businesses and Nonprofits, including those that met the criteria of the 1st Selection Group and the 2nd Selection Group, that did not receive an award in the 1st Selection Group or the 2nd Selection Group..  The random selection will be allocated proportionally to Eligible Small Businesses and Nonprofits with business addresses in cities and unincorporated areas in Ventura County based on the most recent Census population data. This funding will be awarded via a distinct and separate lottery. A higher probability for receiving funding will be given to those who have not received PPP or EIDL funding in the random selection process. 

  • For woman owned – Be at least 51% directly owned and controlled by one or more women
  • For minority owned -To be certified as a minority-owned business, your company must be at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by a minimum of one owner whose racial or ethnic background is Asian Indian, Asian Pacific, Black, Native American or Hispanic, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration 8A program for Disadvantaged Businesses (see 13 CFR §124.103). To read more, please click here.

Receipt of Grant

You will be notified by email about the status of your application and funding for the first phase in August 2020.

You will be notified by email in mid-August 2020. Checks are being mailed on August 12, 2020.  If you do not receive communication by August 30, 2020, please email businessassistancegrants@vccf.org and the Ventura County Community Foundation will assist you. For those receiving Business Assistance Grants from the City of Camarillo or the City of Moorpark, you will learn the status by mid-September, 2020.

If selected, grant funding for the first phase will be sent to you by check in the mail by mid-August 2020. For those receiving Business Assistance Grants from the City of Camarillo or the City of Moorpark, you will learn the status by mid-September, 2020.

A paper check will be sent to the address you identify on your application. 

Use of Grant Funding

The funds are available to be used by your business or nonprofit to assist in reopening, covering costs related to COVID-19, and to help cover vital business expenses, such as staffing, technology enhancements, and rental assistance that promote long-term sustainability.

If selected, a Small Business or a Nonprofit Organization, must use these funds by December 31, 2020 and they may not be used for a different business or nonprofit organization. Funding is not transferrable. Nonprofit Organizations may not use the funds for endowment, reserves, or for providing direct grants, checks, gift cards, or cash support to clients directly.  Any grant funding not used by the small business or nonprofit organization by December 31, 2020 must be returned to the Ventura County Community Foundation immediately. 

You are required to use ALL of the funds awarded by the Ventura County Rapid Response Fund Business Assistance Grants for the stated use on the application. Any funding not utilized for business continuity and sustainability must be sent back to the Ventura County Community Foundation on, or before, January 31, 2020.  If you believe this might apply to your situation, you are required to notify the Ventura County Community Foundation by email so that she may assist you through this simple process.  businessassistancegrants@vccf.org.

The Ventura County Rapid Response Fund cannot provide tax advice to those receiving payments from the Fund. The Fund Administrators recommend that claimants consult with personal tax advisors for any questions regarding tax liability for these payments. No person has a legal claim or entitlement to receive payments from the Fund.

There are no reporting requirements if your business or nonprofit organization is selected to receive funding.

The Economic Development Collaborative and Women’s Economic Ventures are here to support you.
Please visit edcollaborative.com or wevonline.org to learn more.