Marin SBDC Offers COVID Relief Grants to Local Microbusinesses

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The Marin Small Business Development Center (SBDC), hosted by Dominican University of California’s Barowsky School of Business, has launched a $2,500 COVID relief grant program for local microbusinesses.

“The Marin SBDC, in partnership with Dominican, will be giving out 105 grants of $2,500 each to help support the underserved microbusiness community,” says Miriam Hope Karell, Marin SBDC Director.

“Maybe you know a house cleaner, gardener, childcare provider, musician, artist, nail/hair care professional, or home/elder care specialist. These are only a few of the industries we flagged that may qualify for this program,” Karell says. “We have team members ready to support anyone through the application and can work with different languages and technology needs.”

Karell has been leading the nonprofit since 2013. SBDC provides no-cost business advising to support small business growth in Marin County.

Since 2017, the Marin SBDC has been located at Dominican. The center partners with BSB and the Francoise Lepage Center for Global Innovation to give business students access to work with local entrepreneurs and organizations. Many Dominican undergraduate and graduate students have interned for the Marin SBDC, with work expanding rapidly during the pandemic.

“We are very proud of the active roles SBDC is playing to support mostly minority-owned Marin microbusinesses, which had been disproportionately weakened by the pandemic,” notes BSB Dean, Dr. Yung-Jae Lee.

During the pandemic, Marin SBDC – with its team of advisers for consultation on pivoting strategies, lease negotiations, e-commerce, loans, financial and cash flow strategies, marketing, social media, human resources and management –provided more than 8,250 hours of direct service and one-on-one advising support to more than 1,700 unique clients. It also hosted more than 100 workshops for more than 2,250 attendees. In this time period, they helped Marin businesses get over $67 million in funding and helped increase their sales by more than $22 million.

Read more about the work Dominican students are doing with Marin SBDC on pandemic relief efforts.

The Marin SBDC is one of 16 such centers in Northern California that are partially funded by the Small Business Administration. The COVID relief funding is coming from the state through The California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA). The application is available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. A wide range of microbusinesses may qualify for the program.

Eligible businesses must meet the following requirements and you get all information through the Microbusiness Grant Program Site:

  • Located in Marin County
  • Been in business since December 2019
  • Made less than $50,000 gross revenue in 2019
  • The business is the primary source of income
  • Work has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The business must currently be open or planning to reopen
  • The business must have fewer than 5 full-time equivalent employees
  • The business did not receive a CA Grant through Lendistry

The first round application process is open now through June 30, 2022. For more information, call (415) 482-1819 or email

Photo: Miriam Hope Karell (pictured in red in front of banner) and her Marin SBDC team are ready to work with local microbusinesses on the new COVID relief grant program. 

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