Durham CARES Small Business Grant Program


The Durham CARES Small Business Grant Program utilizes CARES Act funds to provide direct grants to operational small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Durham City Council has authorized a total of $240,000 of its CARES Act allocation for emergency business assistance. The federal funds may be used by small businesses to pay necessary business expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency, including PPE, increased delivery fees, costs incurred to promote conducting outdoor business, and rent and utilities paid by a business while operating at decreased capacity or during closure. 

Beginning November 12, applications will be reviewed in the order they are received and until funds are exhausted. The program will be administered by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD). Minority-owned and women-owned businesses are encouraged to apply. OEWD will work with business support agencies and economic development ecosystem partners to ensure outreach to the Durham business community.

Confident woman leader at a company


All Businesses Must: 

    Be physically located within Durham County limits
    Employ fewer than 50 full-time employees as of Jan 1, 2020

    Be in good standing with the North Carolina Secretary of State if a corporation (Check Here)
    Owners of multiple legal entities can only apply for one business
    Have been established and in operation as of November 15, 2019
    Have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
    Not currently engaged in bankruptcy proceedings or dissolution
    Show proof of expenses and/or invoices to be paid
    Have revenues of $2 million or less according to latest tax filing
    Business must not have previously received grant or loan from Durham Small Business Recovery Program.

    Not have an owner that is a full or part-time employee of the City or County of Durham.

Note: Owners of multiple legal entities can only apply for one business. For franchises, the franchisee principal address must be located in Durham County and those franchises are eligible for only one grant regardless of the number of locations in the county.

The following entities are ineligible for this grant program:

  • Non-profit corporations
  • Real estate investment firms


The CARES Small Business Grant Application is now closed due to high demand.




Contact the Office of Economic and Workforce Development via email or by phone at 919.560.4965 x. 15205.


Funds may be used for legitimate business expenses, including but not limited to:

  • Working capital, lease payments, existing real estate and equipment financing payments 
  • Payroll expenses
  • Accessing and applying for federal resources related to capital and business resiliency 
  • Hazards and prevention of COVID-19 
  • Mitigating the potential effects of COVID-19 on supply chain, distribution and sale of products 
  • Management and practice of telework or remote customer service 
  • Risk and mitigation of cyber threats in remote customer service and telework
  • Any other business practices necessary to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19.

Funds may not be used to pay off tax liens, judgments, collections, or debts that existed prior to March 1, 2020.


    Up to $10,000.


    Completed grant application
    Copy of valid/unexpired driver’s license or other government-issued identification
    2019 business tax returns
    Documentation with narrative showing how your business has been negatively impacted due to COVID-19 between March 2020 and October 2020
    Recipient banking information including current business bank statement, routing, checking account number and copy of a voided check

*The City reserves the right to ask for additional documentation to support your application.