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Santa Clara’s Small Business Grants Program Reports For Duty

There may be questions about when Santa Clara County businesses will be able to fully open, but the City of Santa Clara’s small business emergency grants program is on the job for businesses like EA Machining.

The two-decade old company makes fittings and connectors for a wide range of industries — from parts used in plane landing gears to parts for buses, restaurant equipment and cameras.

Uncertainty in these markets translates to a cash flow slowdown right now and uncertainty for the future, explained owner Ann Murray Amaro. “We know people will fly again but it’s a question of when.”

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The City’s grant combined with EA Machining’s participation in California’s Workshare program* allows EA Machining to keep all its employees on the payroll as well as helping to pay the rent.

The program application was straightforward, said Amaro. “It was pretty streamlined. It was very clear what they required and I was able to submit everything. The approval went through pretty quickly.”

The program has kept other businesses from shuttering their operations.

For nearly 35 years A&A Computers has been providing cost-effective IT services and infrastructure to businesses. But when his corporate clients shut down, so did A&A’s revenue stream, said A&A Computers owner Ashwin Doshi.

“With the help of the City’s grant we’re able to stay partially open,” explained Doshi. “This way we’re able to help people who are working from home. Without the grant, I wouldn’t have been able to continue to keep my employees on the payroll. We might have had to shut down.”

For more than 30 years, Anchor Electronics has been supplying electronic components to Silicon Valley from its Santa Clara showroom. But without the walk-in business, Anchor Electronics has seen its business drop about 80 percent, said owner Alicia Burgoon. Although the company sells online, “Almost everyone wants to come in and browse,” she said.

The City’s grant gave Burgoon some breathing room, covering payroll for several weeks for the company’s three fulltime employees. She’s already dipped into savings to keep her employees. “I’m going to stick it out for six months,” she said, even if it means using her personal savings. “Hopefully, things will pick up with curbside sales.”

Santa Clara has awarded $800,000 in grants to about 110 small businesses operating in the City, City Manager Deanna Santana reported at a recent Council meeting. The City received about 700 applications and has reviewed about 150 of them, Santana said. Nearly three-quarters of those reviewed received grants.

Of the businesses approved for grants, the dentists, optometrists and chiropractors as a group were at the top of the list. The next largest groups are restaurants, followed by service businesses, sports, and auto service and parts.

Fewer than 10 retail businesses received grants and five community non-profits received grants. At the bottom of the numbers list were arts groups, hotels and attorneys.

The grants are available to businesses with:

  • No more than 25 employees
  • A Santa Clara commercial address and business license
  • At least one year of business operation in Santa Clara
  • Provable loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Franchisees qualify as long as they have no more than two stores. Online-only retail businesses are eligible, as well. Non-profits providing community services are also eligible, including those with religious affiliations.

You can find the complete list at http://www.santaclaraca.gov/home/showdocument?id=67576.

For more information about the program and other City services available during the pandemic, visit SantaClaraCA.gov/CoronavirusUpdates.

*EDD Workshare is a partial unemployment program offering qualifying businesses an alternative to temporary layoffs.

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