Needham Small Business Recovery Grant Program

In November 2021, the Needham Select Board approved $300,000 of the Town’s ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding to help create the Needham Small Business Recovery Grant Program.  This new program will provide limited financial assistance to eligible small businesses in Needham to help mitigate the negative financial impacts resulting from the pandemic such as declines in revenues or impacts of periods of business closure and will provide business owners with grants up to a maximum of $10,000.  The Select Board approved an additional $200,000 in ARPA funds for a second round of grants. in March 2022 as well as $57,200 in late 2022 for a third round of grants specific to creating accessibility for outside dining.

Applications for a third and final round of small business grants will open on April 5, 2023.  These grants will provide limited financial assistance to eligible food service businesses in Needham to help cover the costs associated with having an outside dining area that is accessible for people with physical disabilities. This program will provide business owners with grants up to a maximum of $14,000 for these specific costs.

The confidential application and grant process is designed to be simple.  The process requires an application, explanation of how the funds will be used, and copies of required documents including Federal tax returns or Audited Financial Statements from both 2019 and 2020 and a signed affadavit   

The application submission period begins on April 5, 2023 and ends on December 31, 2023.

These grants are provided on a reimbursement basis for approved expenses incurred during the period starting on April 5, 2023 through November 15, 2023*.  Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis and will be available until the funding is depleted. 

Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible:

  1. Be a Needham food service business that serves customers at a brick-and-mortar (physical) location and be permitted by the Town of Needham for outside dining service either on private or public property. Permits include those issued by the Planning Board under Zoning By-Law 6.9 Outdoor Seating and the Select Board under policy #SB-LIC-016 Outdoor Dining Licenses. 
  2.  Have been established prior to January 1, 2020 and still be operational 
  3. Fewer than thirty-five (35) employees
  4. Less than $1,500,000 in annual revenue, and
  5. Be registered with, in good standing with, and operating in, the Town of Needham and must be current on all local taxes and licenses 
  6.  Be independently owned and operated (franchises, defined as a business whereby the owner licenses its operations—along with its products, branding, and knowledge—in exchange for a franchise fee, are eligible)

*Grant Payments:  Reimbursement requests for pre-approved expenses must be submitted with copies of paid receipts and sent to Economic Development Manager Amy Haelsen at   Reimbursement checks will be distributed to grant recipients within 15 business days of reimbursement requests.   

Grant Applications:   The application to apply for funding for a Small Business Recovery Grant must be completed online. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.   Click here for the application. 

Eligible Projects:
Round 3 of the Small Business Recovery Grant Program will provide funding to Needham food service businesses to help cover the cost of flooring/decking to make their outdoor dining setups accessible to persons with physical disabilities as required by Massachusetts Architectural Access Board regulations.  Flooring/decking must meet the following criteria:

Must meet federal, state and local accessibility standards

• The platform must be flush with the sidewalk. 

• Maximum ¼” lip. 

• Stable, firm and slip resistant flooring material. 

• Less than 2% cross-slope. 

Please note - once installed, the flooring must be inspected by the Town of Needham Building Department prior to public use.

Ineligible Projects: 

Funds may not be used to reimburse a business for expenditures that incurred prior to the date grant was approved.  

The following must be included with your application:

  • Tax returns from your business from both 2019 and 2020 – OR -  audited financial statements for both 2019 and 2020. 
  • A signed copy of the Needham Small Business Recover Grant Program Affadavit.  Digital signatures will not be accepted. You may either print out the affidavit, sign it and scan a copy to include with your online submission or you may either mail or drop off the original signed copy to:     

Amy Haelsen
Economic Development Manager
Needham Town Hall
1471 Highland Avenue
Needham, MA 02492