The state of California’s $500 million Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program opened its first round of applications Wednesday.

Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for grants between $5,000 and $25,000 through an online portal. Funds are meant to be used for rent, utility bills, payroll expenses and other costs.


The application period for the first round will run from Dec. 30 to Jan. 8. Approval notifications for this round will begin Jan. 13, according to a press release from State Sen. Bob Wieckowski of Fremont.


Applicants who are not awarded grants in the first round do not need to reapply to be considered for future rounds of grantmaking from the fund. It isn’t clear how many rounds there will be.


Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program in November. Grants will be administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, which is part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.


“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities,” Wieckowski said in a statement. “This financial assistance during these hard times will allow us to not only protect lives, but more people's livelihoods too. As we wait for additional federal financial assistance, these grants will provide critical help for companies.”