Vermont Creative Sector
New ACCD Grant Opportunities
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) has announced two new grant opportunities that have potential to benefit our arts and culture sector. We hope some of you will be able to act quickly and take advantage of these programs.
For Businesses: Buy Local Vermont Gift Card Program
3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26 Info Session
Gov. Phil Scott has proposed a $150 gift card for every Vermont household with funds to be spent at local participating businesses. Businesses have to opt in to the program. A Buy Local Vermont Gift Card Information Session for businesses and other organizations helping businesses to enroll in the program will be held at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26. The consumer launch date for the program is Sept. 8. More information about the program and how to enroll will be announced in the session. The session will be recorded and posted to the ACCD website for later viewing.

Meeting ID: 967 5233 4543
Passcode: Nift101
To join by mobile: 1-929-205-6099
Restart Vermont Marketing and Stimulus Grant Program
Application Deadline: Monday, Aug. 31
Grants of up to $10,000 will support initiatives to boost consumer spending, support local businesses, and advance community recovery efforts.

Programs that promote consumer spending on arts and culture might include, for example:
  • Local “downtown bucks,” discount cards, or similar spending stimulus programs that may be used in galleries, museums, theaters, etc.
  • Mobile app spending platforms
  • Marketing and advertising to promote arts and cultural events

Who is eligible?
  • downtown organizations
  • chambers of commerce
  • regional and local economic development organizations
  • statewide business organizations
  • and other similar groups with capacity to quickly implement local, regional, or statewide programs

Visit ACCD's Resource Center for application guidance and a webinar with more information.
Micro Business Grant Program (E.M.B.R.A.C.E)
Applications are being accepted now and grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
The E.M.B.R.A.C.E. (Economic Micro Business Recovery Assistance for the Covid-19 Epidemic) direct grant program to support the smallest businesses across Vermont, including creative businesses, which have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Timeline for grant disbursement: August through November 2020. All disbursed funds must be spent by Dec. 30, 2020.

Applications will be reviewed and grants will be rewarded on an ongoing basis until $1 million has been fully distributed to Vermont micro-businesses.

Grant amount: $2,500-$5,000

Who is eligible?
  • a business with 5 employees or fewer, including the owner
  • businesses owned by an individual with a household income at or under 80% of the median state income

Pre-planning for application process:

The following information was provided by the EMBRACE Grant Program to prepare you in responding to application questions that ask for a written response. Consider writing your answers before you complete the application. Responses must be as clear and concise as possible:

  1. Business Description: You will be asked to describe your business, the products or services you provide, and your organizational structure, e.g., sole proprietor, LLC, partnership, etc.
  2. Covid-19 Impact: The sole purpose of this grant is to help qualifying micro businesses to recover from the harm caused to them by Covid-19. Examples: loss of revenue due to stay home order; no adequate online presence to replace lost business
  3. Funding Request: You will be asked to provide a clear explanation of how the grant will help to stabilize, strengthen, or revive your business. Consider how an infusion of $2,500-$5,000 can help you recover from the setback caused by the pandemic: What investments were you going to make but didn't due to the timing of Covid-19? What equipment, tools, or services would you purchase and what positive direct impact would they have on your business? You will need to be as specific as possible, so be sure to vie this a lot of thought. Although $5,000 is a substantial amount, it may not address all of your business needs. Therefore, prioritize. Focus on what you need the most to move your business forward.
  4. Photograph Request: The application process requires you to upload a photo of yourself while engaged in your business. Here's what the Micro Business Development Program (MBDP) says: "This funding opportunity has been provided by the State of Vermont through the federal CARES Act. The State of Vermont is the primary funder of the MBDP. Each year we have to advocate for the continuation of the program. We need to provide data that the distribution of these funds had a positive impact in our communities. We have decided that the best way to do that is to showcase your business and get testimonials so that your voice is heard. You will be part of a collective group of over 200 micro businesses across the state!"
  5. Keep Your Receipts: It is important to keep your receipts of purchases made with this grant. You will receive a 1099 at the end of the year that reflects this grant income. The IRS requires you to report this as revenue, which you will use to offset your business taxes (Schedule C) as business expenses. Please be aware that federal or state funding authorities will randomly select 10% of the statewide grants for audit. This means that you may be asked to show your receipts. Receipts must equal the amount of the grant award that you received. You will need to make all purchases before Dec. 30, 2020.

For more information, eligibility requirements, and the online application, visit the E.M.B.R.A.C.E. program webform.
Please watch both videos below before starting the application.
Part I. Overview of the EMBRACE Grant, Eligibility, and Permitted Uses of Grant Funds (28.04 minutes)
Part II. Guided Walk Through of the Application (24.21 minutes)