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Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 Microenterprise Assistance Program

Applications will be accepted through December 17, 2021

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This webpage was set up by the Central Massachusetts Planning Commission (CMRPC) for use by businesses in participating central Massachusetts communities as a one-stop-shop for information regarding the microenterprise assistance program. 

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Program Overview


The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) administers microenterprise assistance funds from the Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 (CDBG-CV) program on behalf of 6 towns in Central Massachusetts. Participating communities include Leicester (lead community), Brookfield, Dudley, Millbury, North Brookfield, and West Brookfield. 

These CDBG-CV funds were appropriated through the federal CARES Act of 2020 and were awarded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

CDBG-CV microenterprise assistance grant funding supports qualifying microenterprises that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 that are located in and do business in the 6 participating towns. Business owners must meet HUD income criteria to participate. Grants up to $25,000 (formerly $10,000) are provided to qualified businesses for use with eligible business expenses to help offset lost incomes and/or expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


To download the application, please click here.


Once completed, you can either email or mail the completed form and attachments to:

Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission

c/o Microenterprise Application

1 Mercantile Street, Suite 520

Worcester, MA 01608

Applicant Eligibility

  • Businesses must have a physical establishment in one of the following towns: Brookfield, Dudley, Leicester, Millbury, North Brookfield or West Brookfield and businesses must serve the local area. Licensed home-based businesses may be eligible on a case-by-case basis. 










North Brookfield

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West Brookfield

  • Business must be a microenterprise (a commercial enterprise that has 5 or fewer individual employees, at least 1 of whom owns the enterprise as of the date of application for assistance). Contract employees (1099 Contractors) count towards the employee limits for this program.

  • Business owner(s) must meet HUD low-to-moderate income limits in the community where they live. Business owners' families must earn an adjusted gross income equal to or less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) based on family size. Download the application form to view HUD's family income limits for communities in the Worcester metro area - if you live outside of the Worcester area, please contact CMRPC to obtain income limits in your community of residence. Income must be documented through your recent tax return or through current income documentation such as pay stubs and bank statements

  • Business must be a for-profit entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporations, or LLC)

  • Business must provide goods or services to multiple clients or customers in the local area

  • Business must be able to clearly document a loss of income (revenue) and/or extra expense incurred due to COVID-19 that is equal to or greater than the requested assistance

  • Business must have been established and operating before March 10, 2020 and must still be in existence (it cannot be in bankruptcy or permanently closed/out of business)

  • Business must be in good standing with the state and its host town:

    • Business must be current on all taxes due through March 1, 2020

    • Have active and valid state and local licenses/registrations, if applicable

    • Not be a party to litigation involving the Commonwealth or the town you operate in

  • Ineligible businesses – these types of business are NOT eligible for assistance:

    • Real estate rentals/sales businesses

    • Businesses owned by persons under age 18

    • Businesses that are chains (franchises may be eligible) 

    • Liquor stores

    • Weapons/firearms dealers

    • Lobbyists

    • Cannabis-related businesses

Amount of Funding


Up to $25,000 per business based on the amount of documentable pandemic-related income loss, with demonstrated costs greater than or equal to the amount requested. This is a one-time payment. The program reserves the right to award less than the amount requested. In certain limited conditions, more than $25,000 may be awarded.

Use of Funds


Funds can be used for working capital to cover business costs, such as rent, staffing, and utilities. Funds can also be used for purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items clearly required to operate in compliance with pandemic-related public health requirements. Other uses that may be eligible include technical assistance and those that generally support and stabilize the business in response to the pandemic. 

All awarded funds are required to be spent and documented within 45 days of receiving them

Microenterprise Assistance grant funds may NOT be used for major equipment purchases, purchase of real property, construction activities, business expansion, or lobbying. Microenterprise funds cannot be used for costs where another source of financial assistance (such as other government grants or loans) is available to pay that cost. Grant funding may be considered as taxable income by state and federal authorities.

Award Process


The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) will review submitted applications to determine eligibility. All eligible applicants will also be reviewed by the town in which their business is located for confirmation that local taxes are up to date and any local licenses and certifications are in place. On behalf of the Town of Leicester, CMRPC will award and disburse grants to eligible applicants until program funds are depleted. The program reserves the right to award less than the amount requested. 

Applicants must comply with all applicable federal and state laws and terms and conditions and, if approved, must enter into a written program assistance agreement before receiving funds. Recipients must provide documentation of how grant funds are spent within the 45-day refund window. Grant funds can be recaptured if a recipient violates the conditions of the program or its grant. 

Required Documentation

Please be prepared to provide the following information and documents during the application and (if approved) grant award process (other documents may be required depending on each applicant’s situation and any new DHCD/HUD guidance):

  • A copy of your most recent Federal business tax return. If your 2020 tax return has not been filed, your prior return will be accepted.

  • A copy of your most recent Federal personal tax returns for each business owner's family. If your 2020 tax return is not yet filed, their prior return may be accepted. A signed copy of a Federal Tax Transcript for each return is also required. Alternate documentation showing recent pandemic-impacted income may be allowable.

  • A copy of your license to operate/business license/professional certification, if applicable​

  • A copy of your business’s lease or mortgage, if requesting payment assistance 

  • Documentation listing your current employees (payroll reports, etc.), including IRS 941 forms for the past year, if applicable

  • If you have received any other state, local, or federal COVID-19 financial aid, documentation is required

  • Documentation to demonstrate that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a loss of income equal to or greater than the requested assistance. Provide a brief description and attach any supporting documentation, such as pre-pandemic and pandemic (us 03/10/2020 as the pandemic start date) profit-loss statements, monthly revenue reports, etc. 

  • Your business’s DUNs number. If you do not yet have one, a DUNS number can be requested on an expedited basis by specifying that you are applying for a CARES Act grant. Contact DNB online or by phone at (866) 705-5711.


For questions about the program, please email or call (508) 459-3339 or (508) 459-3331.

Funding for this program comes from a grant to the Town of Leicester from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission
One Mercantile Street, Suite 520
Worcester, MA 01608
Phone 508.756.7717 Fax 508.792.6818


Sources - Images from Upsplash

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