Small business program

Hillsborough County Small Business Financial Assistance Program Expands

County pauses new R3 business applications to update program for larger awards and easier submissions

Hillsborough County is working with more than 3,000 small businesses on their requests for nearly $32 million in direct funding under the County's Rapid Response Recovery Program (R3). The program aims to soften the protracted economic injury to the small business community inflicted by the sustained COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. While there is still plenty of funding available through the $100 million R3 program, the County is taking lessons learned during the first three phases of the Economic Recovery financial assistance program to develop a Phase 4 application period. Phase 4 is designed to expand access to more businesses and make award amounts larger, qualifications simpler, and applications easier.

Some of the Phase 4 program changes include:

  • Increasing awards to up to $40,000 for operational/working capital expenses to provide an immediate infusion of capital to local small businesses with between $40,000 and $20 million in annual revenue
  • Basing awards on the size of the small business, with tiers based on the number of employees
  • Expanding eligibility to businesses established as recently as Dec. 31, 2019
  • Creating a more inclusive measurement for establishing economic injury

To allow the County to update the application portal, the R3 Business Financial Assistance program temporarily paused accepting new applications on Aug. 20. The County expects to reopen applications for Phase 4 on Monday, Aug. 31.

The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners approved the revised R3 Kickstart Small Business Financial Assistance Program payment amounts at its Aug. 20, 2020 meeting. The County will release full information on the updated program criteria and guidelines for Phase 4 of the R3 Kickstart Small Business Financial Assistance Program prior to Aug. 31 on

How Existing Applications and Awards Are Impacted by Phase 4

  • Small businesses that have already been approved and paid will automatically receive a supplemental award equal to the amount they would have received under Phase 4 guidelines.
  • All applications under review from Phases 1-3 will have their award amounts automatically determined based on the more favorable Phase 4 scale.
  • Applicants who were denied in Phases 1-3 but may now qualify under the Phase 4 criteria can simply resubmit their existing application after Aug. 31.
Photo: Small business owner Khalid Abouelhouda is using financial assistance from Hillsborough County's R3 program to help kickstart the recovery of Pita Kebob in Ruskin after the restaurant was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.


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