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How to Apply for a RI Rebounds Grant

The RI Rebounds Small Business Grant Program portal opened for applications on February 1 and will close on February 15 at 3:30 PM. This $12.5 million grant program provides direct financial assistance to Rhode Island small businesses that have suffered financially due to the pandemic. This program provides either a $2,500 or $5,000 small business grant. 

These grants do not have to be paid back and are generally taxable for both federal and Rhode Island income taxes.

This blog post will provide simple but detailed instructions on how to apply for a RI Rebounds grant. We will provide instructions for the entire process including applying for a DUNS number and a SAM.gov account. We want this application process to be as easy as possible for small business owners. The article is divided into seven sections:

  1. We’ll begin by answering your most important question. Is my business eligible for a RI Rebounds grant? If so, how much? link
  2. While most of the eligibility requirements are easy to answer, calculating the amount of your 2021 Net Financial Need and RI Rebounds grant requires the use of the RI Rebounds Calculator. We’ll show you how to use this calculator and provide four different scenarios which should cover most situations. link
  3. If you used Covid-related expenses to calculate your grant amount, we’ll explain how to calculate those expenses. link
  4. If you are a 2020 or 2021 startup, we’ll show you how to calculate your 2021 operating expenses used to calculate your grant amount. link
  5. If you're eligible, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to complete the online RI Rebounds grant application. link
  6. If you don’t have a DUNS number, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to apply. If you aren’t sure if you have a DUNS number, don’t worry, we’ll show you how to do that too. link
  7. Finally, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a SAM.gov account. link

Let’s begin.

Am I Eligible?

  1. You are NOT ELIGIBLE if you can check ANY ONE of the following:

  • Sole proprietor’s annual gross receipts is less than 20% of total annual earnings
  • Not-for-profit entity
  • Government-owned business including elected official offices
  • K-12 or higher education academic institution
  • Lobbying or political organization
  • Real estate or landlord business
  • Received a Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant (RRF)
  • Received a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG)
  • Nationally or regionally-owned franchise business
  • Permanently-closed business
  • Daycare business not registered in Rhode Island
  • Listed on the Federal Do Not Pay list
  • Engaged in any activity that is illegal under Federal, State, or Local law.
  • Filed or considering to file for federal bankruptcy or state receivership
  1. You are ELIGIBLE if you can check ALL of the following:

  • Your business is physically located in Rhode Island.
  • Your business is a For-Profit business.
  • Your business was established in Rhode Island before October 1, 2021.
  • If you are a sole proprietor, your business generates revenue that equals at least 20% of your total annual earnings.
  • Your business had less than $1 million of revenues in 2020 or 2021, excluding COVID-related financial assistance.
  • Your business has a 2021 Net Financial Need based on the RI Rebounds Calculator. To answer this question, please read the next section on how to calculate your grant amount.  

How to calculate my grant amount

Calculating your grant requires the use of Commerce RI’s RI Rebounds Calculator, an easy-to-use calculator. You input your data into the calculator and it does the rest. The calculator will prevent you from inputting an amount in a calculated field. The following are four different scenarios that demonstrate how your business can use the calculator to determine the amount of your grant.

Here are a couple of things to consider when using the calculator. Your small business 2021 Net Financial Need is reduced by the amount of financial assistance received in 2021, NOT 2020. When you complete your 2021 Net Financial Need calculation, Click Generate PDF for Your Records. CommerceRI may request a copy of the pdf later. Click on this link to use the RI Rebounds Calculator. 

Scenario #1

A business, which opened in 2001, had revenues of $150,000 in 2019 and  revenues of $75,000 in 2021, excluding any federal or state pandemic-related grants. The business received two PPP loans, each for $35,000, in 2020 and 2021.

Select Established BEFORE 2019 in the Years of Business Formation dropdown field. Enter 150000 in Your Revenue for 2019 field. Enter 75000 in Your Revenue for 2021 field. Select Yes to answer the question regarding Receiving Covid Financial Assistance. Enter 35000 in the field directly below that question. The business will ignore the PPP loan received in 2020. The calculator will automatically calculate the Net Need field.

The business 2021 Net Financial Need is $40,000. The business will Select My business has a calculated need of more than $5,000 on the online application.

Scenario #2

A business, which opened in 2010, had revenues of $350,000 in 2019 and  revenues of $274,000 in 2021. The business received two PPP loans, each for $75,000, in 2020 and 2021. The business also incurred additional costs related to the pandemic of $3,500.

Select Established BEFORE 2019 in the Years of Business Formation dropdown field. Enter 350000 in Your Revenue for 2019 field. Enter 274000 in Your Revenue for 2021 field. Select Yes to answer the question regarding Receiving Covid Financial Assistance. Enter 75000 in the field directly below that question. Again, the business will ignore the PPP loan received in 2020.

The Calculator shows a 2021 Net Financial Need of $1,000, which indicates that the business is not eligible. However, the business had additional Covid-related expenses of $3,500. Click Yes to the question regarding Do you have additional Covid-related expenses. Enter $3,500 in one or more of the expense fields. 

The business’ 2021 Net Financial Need is $4,500. Select My business has a calculated need of more than $2,500 but less than $5,000 on the online application.

Scenario #3

A business, which opened on July 1, 2019, had revenues during the last six-month period of $75,000 in 2019 and revenues of $125,000 in 2021. The business received no Covid-related assistance in 2021.

Select Established DURING 2019 in the Years of Business Formation dropdown field. Enter 75000 in Your Revenue for 2019 field. Enter 6 in the Number of Months Operating in the 2019 field. Enter 125000 in Your Revenue for 2021 field. Select No to answer the question regarding Receiving Covid Financial Assistance.

The business 2021 Net Financial Need is $25,000. Select My business has a calculated need of more than $5,000 on the online application.

Scenario #4

A business, which opened in June of 2021, had revenues of $25,000 and expenses of $35,000.  The business received no Covid-related assistance in 2021.

Select Established DURING 2020 or 2021 in the Years of Business Formation dropdown field. Enter 25000 in Your Revenue for 2021 field. Enter 35000 in the 2021 Operating Expenses field. Select No to answer the question about Receiving Covid Financial Assistance.

The business 2021 Net Financial Need is $10,000. Select My business has a calculated need of more than $5,000 on the online application. Remember, if your business started after October 1, 2021, your business is not eligible for this grant.

How do I calculate Covid-related expenses?

If your 2021 Net Financial Need is less than $5,000, you may include Covid-related costs. These costs cannot include expenses where the applicant has or will receive reimbursement from another source including other federal and state government grant or loan programs, unemployment insurance, or insurance coverage. This includes programs such as PPP loan forgiveness or the RestoreRI grant program. Covid-related expenses can include:

  • Increased compensation costs due directly to the pandemic.
  • Increased rent or mortgage payments due directly to the pandemic.
  • Increase utilities costs due directly to the pandemic. Examples: energy costs for external heaters or increased electricity costs to run air filtration systems.
  • Technology upgrades or improvements related to the pandemic. Examples: website or hardware upgrades, ecommerce software, touchless payment systems, digital reservation systems, laptops, computers, and tablets.
  • Physical adaptations to facilities related to the pandemic. Examples: setting up outdoor seating, plexiglass dividers, and easy-to-clean furniture.
  • Supplies or equipment purchased such as cleaning supplies, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, face shields, and other Covid-related supplies.
  • Professional services to assist a business to pivot or adapt to the Covid business environment.
  • Inventory replacement due to mandatory closures or restricted operations.

To learn more about Covid-related expenses, click on this link CommerceRI Small Business Expense Listing.

How do I calculate my 2021 startup operating expenses?

A startup, which began operations in 2020 or 2021, can use normal and customary operating expenses to calculate their 2021 Net Financial Need. These expenses cannot include any of the following:

  • Distributions to a shareholder, member, partner, or any other class of equity.
  • Non-business expenses.
  • Taxes or other amounts owed to government entities.
  • Political donations or lobbying activities for political purposes.
  • Renovations not related to COVID-19.
  • Business expenses where the applicant has or will receive reimbursement from another source including other federal and state government grant or loan programs, unemployment insurance, or insurance coverage. 

How to apply for a RI Rebound grant?

Step 1: Click on this link to apply for the grant. Enter your name and email. Select Applicant in the user type dropdown field. Click I’m not a robot. Click Register.

Step 2: You’ll receive an email from CommerceRI within several minutes. Click the link in the email to confirm your email address. The system will redirect you to a page where you’ll create your password. Enter your password. The system will then create your RI Rebounds account. The application is ONLY three pages and should take only a few minutes to complete. 

Step 3: The application initiation page will require you to Enter the following information, which should take only a couple of minutes to complete.

  • Select your preferred language in the dropdown field.
  • Select your primary industry in the dropdown field.
  • Select the town or city where your primary physical business is located.
  • Select the technical assistance partner that you are using, if any.
  • Select yes or no to answer the following questions: 
    • Did your business experience revenue loss due to the pandemic? 
    • Is your business a not-for-profit entity? 
  • Select a gross receipts range for 2020 or 2021. This field is not used to calculate your grant.
  • Select whether you are applying on behalf of your business or on behalf of another entity.
  • Select yes or no to answer the following questions: 
    • Do you require additional support services from CommerceRI? 
    • Did your business start prior to October 1, 2021?
    • Is your business in or considering federal bankruptcy or state receivership? 
    • Is your business a nationally or regionally owned franchise? 
  • Select the correct response in the dropdown field regarding your business 2021 Net Financial Need based on your RI Rebounds Calculator results.
  • Select yes or no to answer the following questions:  
    • Did your business receive Rhode Island Covid-related grants?
    • Did your business receive a RRF or SVOG grant?
    • Is your business permanently closed?  
  • Select how you hear about this grant program?
  • Select yes or no to answer the question whether CommerceRI can contact you via text messaging.
  • Print the section before moving to the next step.
  • Click Next to continue. WHEN YOU SELECT NEXT, YOU CANNOT MAKE CHANGES TO THIS PAGE.

Step 4: The business information page will require you to enter the following information:

  • Enter the legal business name and DBA, if any.
  • Enter the physical address and mailing address.
  • Enter the name, email, and phone number of the business owner.
  • Enter an alternative contact, address, phone number, and email address. This is optional.
  • Select your business legal entity type.
  • Select the range of active employees from the dropdown field. This isn’t a FTE calculation. Example: the owner works in the business as well as one full time employee and two part-time employees. You would select the range of 1-5 employees.
  • Enter your business tax identification number.
  • You do not need a DUNS number or a SAM.gov account to submit your application. 
  • Select Yes, No, or In Progress to answer the following two questions:
    • Do you have a DUNS number? 
    • Do you have a SAM.gov number? 
  • Select Yes, or No to answer the following question:
    • Is the business at least 51% owned by women and/or minorities? 
  • Click any checkboxes to indicate your ownership description.
  • Print the section before moving to the next step.
  • Click Save to go to the last section.

Step 5: Create your signature and initials. Read the nine attestation and two authorization statements. You cannot click on the icon beside these statements. Click the checkbox indicating your agreement to these attestation and authorization statements. Sign the application electronically. Print the attestation page. SUBMIT the application. 

The application does not require you to upload any documents; however, CommerceRI will select a sample of applications for review. They may ask for documents to support your application. Examples: your calculator pdf file, tax returns, 2021 revenue documentation, invoices, bank statements to support any expenses used to calculate your grant amount. 

If your application is approved, you will be required to sign a grant agreement, and provide a Form W-9, and your business banking information.

How to apply for a DUNS Number?

A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit identifier used to identify your business physical location. To apply or search for your DUNS Number: Click on this link to redirect to the DUNS website. Select Begin D-U-N-S Search/Request Process (left panel.) Select United States of America. Enter your business name (owner’s name for sole proprietors), business address and business phone number. Click Submit. If D&B locates your business information, Click Request Your Existing DUNS Number. If your business information isn’t found, Click Request a New DUNS Number.

To create a new DUNS number, D&B requires that you upload two of the following documents: i) Secretary of State Articles of Incorporation, ii) Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Confirmation Letter, iii) Employer Identification Number (EIN) Confirmation Letter, iii) your DBA or Assumed Name Certificate Filing, iv) lease agreement, or v) utility bill. Both documents must clearly show the correct legal address or current physical address of the business. For Sole Proprietorship check that your documentation contains Your personal legal name and current physical address.

If you already have a DUNS Number, D&B will email the number to you. If you don’t have a DUNS Number, this process will take one to two business days to receive your new DUNS Number. 

The information in your DUNS application should be identical to your RI Secretary of State’s corporate registration. If you are a sole proprietor, then the DUNS information should be identical to your federal income tax return. You should login into the RI Rebounds Portal and enter your new DUNS Number.

You cannot apply for your SAM.gov number until you have a DUNS Number.

How to apply for a SAM.gov account?

SAM.gov is a U.S. Government website where businesses can register so that they can sell goods and services to the federal government AND apply for federally funded grant programs. This service is FREE. Congress exempted small businesses from having to apply for a SAM.gov account for PPP loans, EIDL advances and loans, and RRF grants. The registration process for grants is an easier process than registering to sell products and services to the federal government. 

The application process includes three steps: The first step is to create your user account with login.gov. The second step is to register your business with SAM.gov. This is a multiple screen process that includes providing general information about your business, your DUNS number, taxpayer information, banking information, and making representations and certifications. The third and final step is to create and upload a notarized letter, using a template provided by fsd.gov.

It is important to follow these steps carefully.

Before you begin the SAM.gov process, you should have the following information:

  • DUNS Number
  • Legal Business Name and Physical Address
  • Taxpayer Identification Number and Taxpayer Name
  • Your banking information: bank name, bank phone number, routing number, account number, and account type (checking or savings).

You should check your entity record in the Corporate Database on the Rhode Island’s Secretary of State website to check the status of your business. If the “Inactive Status” field on the entity results page is blank, your entity is ACTIVE. If your business is INACTIVE, email the Secretary of State office immediately. Their email address is corporations@sos.ri.gov. They will respond immediately to your request with detailed instructions on the reinstatement process.

Creating Your User Account with login.gov.

Step 1: Click on this link to create your new user account. Click Sign In (upper right.) Click Create a New Account. Enter your email. Select your language preference (to receive email communication from login.gov in English, Spanish, or French.) Click Submit. 

Step 2: You will receive an email from login.gov. Click on the button in the email to confirm your email address. The system will redirect to a password page. Create a strong password (must have 12 characters and other requirements.) Click Continue. Select an authentication method (it is recommended to select the phone method.)  Click Continue. Enter your phone number. Select either receive a text message or phone call. Click Send Code. Enter your security code (this code expires in 10 minutes.) Click Submit. This will redirect you to the SAM.gov website.

Creating an Entity Registration in SAM.gov

Step 3: Click Create Individual Account. Enter your name, phone number, country, and primary communication method (phone or email) with SAM.gov. Create a username. Select three security questions and Create your answers to those questions. Click Next. A summary of your user information will be displayed. PRINT this page. Click Submit.

Step 4: Go to SAM.gov. Click Sign In (upper right.) Enter your email and login.gov password. System will text you a new security code. Enter the six-digit security code. Click Login. Click Accept SAM Terms and Conditions.

Step 5: Click on Entity Registration (left panel.) Select Register New Entity, if you are creating a new entity. Click START REGISTRATION.

Step 6: Select Business or Organization in the first dropdown field. Select I only want to apply for federal assistance opportunities like grants, loans, and other financial assistance programs in the next dropdown field. Click Next. Review information and go back if you made a mistake. If not, Click Next.

Step 7: Enter your DUNS Number, legal business name and physical address in ALL CAPS (this must match your DUNS record.) Click Next. Check that information matches your DUNS record. If it does match, Click Save and Continue.

Step 8: Enter your business start date, fiscal year close date, division name and number (if applicable), and your business website address. Create an eight character MPIN code (save this number.) Enter your mailing address, and taxpayer identification number. Click Save and Continue.

Step 9: Enter your taxpayer name, tax identification number, tax address, the most recent tax year, the name and title of the individual executing consent (generally the business owner.) Enter your MPIN as your signature. Click Save and Continue. If you are a Single-Member LLC, you are the taxpayer and the tax identification number should be your social security number, not the tax identification number of the business.

Click No if you are registering a new entity and don’t have a CAGE number. Click Save and Continue. The Cage Code will be assigned by the CAGE system after you have submitted your entity registration.

Your taxpayer information should match your last filed tax return. This page is similar to the Form 4506-T used in the EIDL loan application process.

Step 10: Enter your banking information, including the account type, bank name, routing number, account number, and the telephone number of your local bank branch. Enter a remittance mailing address in the unlikely event a check is to be mailed to you. Click Save and Continue.

Step 11: Select No to answer the question regarding executive compensation. Click Save and Continue.

Step 12: Select No or Yes to answer the three compliance questions. Click Save and Continue.

Step 13: Click the checkbox which will allow CommerceRI to check the status of your SAM.gov account. Click Save and Continue. Review your inputs regarding the Core Data Section. If your information is correct, Click Save and Continue.

Step 14: Read the Representations and Certifications. Click the checkbox at the end of the page to indicate your understanding and agreement.  Click Save and Continue.

Step 15: Enter the name, email, and phone numbers for each point of contact (POC). This authorizes SAM.gov to contact a POC regarding a specific issue relating to your account. A POC must be an employee of your organization. As the owner, you can take on multiple POC roles.  Click Save and Continue.

Step 16: Review your application. Click Submit.

Step 17: SAM requires a notarized letter to grant access rights to new Entity Administrators. The fsd.gov website has instructions on how to complete this process. Download the template. Complete the form with your information. Notarize the letter – your town hall or your bank will generally provide notary services, or you can use a Notary, which should cost no more than $5 by State law. 

Log into the fsd.gov website using your login.gov credentials. Create an Incident (bottom of page.) Select System for Award Management in the System Name dropdown field. Select SAM: Notarized Letter in the Issue Type dropdown field. Complete all remaining fields. Select the Paperclip icon to upload the scanned notarized letter. Click Submit. You may receive questions from CAGE, which you should answer immediately. 

Within 7-14 days, you may receive an email from CAGE validation. CAGE will confirm your physical location and provide you with a unique five-character code. You will receive a final email notifying you that your SAM.gov account is active. You should login into the RI Rebounds Portal and enter your SAM Number.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this blog article does not constitute legal, tax or accounting advice, but is designed to provide our current understanding of the RI Rebounds grant application process. You should rely on the guidance provided by the Commerce RI or advice from your CPA or attorney.  This blog article has not been approved by CommerceRI or SCORE. 

Resources

CommerceRI website has extremely helpful information regarding this program.

If you want help, contact your SCORE mentor. If you don’t have a mentor, request a SCORE RI mentor, or go to the CommerceRI website to find other resource providers who can assist you. The mentoring services of SCORE are free.

RI Rebounds Grant Portal 
DUNS Website 
SAM.gov 
CommerceRI Website 
CommerceRI Get Ready to Apply Checklist 
CommerceRI FAQs 
CommerceRI Net Financial Need Calculator 
CommerceRI Small Business Expense Listing 
How to register with SAM.gov video 
SAM.gov Cheat Sheet 
Step-by-step guide to registering through SAM.gov 
Secretary of State’s Corporate Email Address 
Search RI Secretary of State’s Corporate Database

For more than 50 years, SCORE has helped more than 11 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in more than 300 chapters serve their communities.  
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About the Author(s)

 Bill  Cunningham

Bill Cunningham is a SCORE Rhode Island mentor and workshop instructor, focusing on business models, business planning, and QuickBooks Online. He is a CPA with more than 30 years of working in the television industry.

RI Rebound Grant