May 20, 2020 Update: the Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund has disbursed over $11 million in cash grants and free rent to more than 900 small businesses.

Hundreds of businesses across the region are being negatively affected by the economic effects of COVID-19 as many businesses, including Amazon, have employees working from home. These businesses support thousands of local jobs. They’re our friends and neighbors, and we believe it’s important we help them confront the economic challenges they face due to reduced foot traffic.

As we all adapt to the changing circumstances, we know we have an important role to play in supporting our neighborhood small businesses.

Our goal with this fund is to help our neighborhood small businesses maintain their livelihood, and continue to foster a vibrant community.

To be eligible for a grant, recipients must have fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue.

Interested neighborhood small businesses can apply for grant support by completing this application. We will review applications as they are received and for those determined to be eligible for a grant, we will disburse funds as quickly as possible. Businesses are eligible to apply for additional grant support due to reduced foot traffic over an extended period of time.

  • What businesses qualify to apply for the Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund?
    This fund is intended to help support neighborhood small businesses in Seattle (South Lake Union and Regrade neighborhoods) and Bellevue. Eligible small businesses will need to: 1) have fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue; 2) be service or retail establishments open to the general public (dental establishments and corporate offices for instance, will not qualify). Since the aim of this fund is to help independent small businesses, retail locations owned by publicly-traded corporations will not qualify.

    We will prioritize available funding for those businesses closest to the buildings where our employees work and are able to provide evidence of decreased revenue.
  • Do businesses need to pay back the funding?
    No. These are grants to our neighbors, not loans. We’ve allocated an initial $5 million to this fund.
  • How does Amazon expect businesses to use this money? Are there requirements for how they need to spend the funds?
    Amazon expects neighborhood small businesses will use these funds to cover day-to-day operating expenses and maintain their businesses. While there are no requirements on the usage of funds and Amazon will not inspect recipients’ expenditures, we believe these grants can support them in managing short-term variations in cash-flow demonstrated by the effect of reduced foot traffic.
  • When will businesses actually receive the grants?
    We know speed matters for small businesses. We expect our external third-party to review all applications in a timely manner and identify small businesses eligible for a grant. Payment will quickly follow grant approval.
  • How is small business defined?
    The 50 employee threshold is used by Washington state for the Paid Family Medical Leave program to define ‘small businesses.’ We didn’t want to exclude restaurants that may have more than 50 employees so we created a second alternative for businesses with annual revenue less than $7 million.
  • What are the definitions of South Lake Union, Regrade, and Bellevue?
    In the following maps, you will see the areas within several blocks of Amazon offices that we are targeting for grants. We will also accept applications from businesses on the edge of these neighborhoods. Download South Lake Union and Regrade map. Download Bellevue map.
  • For approved grants, how will the amount be determined?
    We want to support our neighborhood small businesses in meaningful ways with the $5 million fund. The amount awarded to each small business will be different and dependent on information received through the application process.
  • What about cities outside Seattle and Bellevue?
    At this time, the fund is intended to help support small businesses near our Amazon buildings in Seattle (South Lake Union and Regrade neighborhoods) and Bellevue where we have more than 53,000 employees who are significant drivers of foot traffic to these businesses.
  • What types of businesses qualify for a grant?
    While not a comprehensive list, the types of retail and service businesses that are eligible to receive a grant are restaurants, coffee shops, sandwich shops, food trucks, bars, beauty salons and barbers, car washes, and catering.
  • What types of businesses don’t qualify for a grant?
    We are trying to help retail and service businesses that rely heavily on foot traffic and are open to the public. Businesses that do not rely on foot traffic and are not generally open to the public do not qualify.