Fast Forward Monroe

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Monroe County Fast Forward Monroe Grant Program FAQ

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What is this program?

Monroe County's Fast Forward Monroe program is targeting those who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The effort consists of a grant program designed to provide direct financial aid and customer outreach support to local small businesses, with a focus on those in greatest need.

What are the grant amounts?

A total of $20 million in grants will be distributed to eligible companies. The grant values are $10,000, $15,000, and $20,000.

How will you determine the grant amount a company receives?

  • Sole proprietors with no employees and businesses with up to 2 W-2 Based FTEs can receive a maximum grant amount of $10,000
  • Companies with 3-25 W-2 Based FTEs can receive a maximum grant amount of $15,000
  • Companies with 26-50 W-2 Based FTEs can receive a maximum grant amount of $20,000

Companies will submit an itemized list and proof of payment of COVID-19 related expenses incurred or expected to be incurred after March 1, 2020. 

How many grants are being distributed?

Up to $20 million will be distributed.

How do you decide who is selected to receive a grant?

Applications will be reviewed at the close of the application period. The grant program will emphasize diversity in distributing funds, prioritizing minority and women-owned businesses; businesses in highly-distressed zip codes; those who have yet to receive COVID-related aid (including previous Fast Forward Monroe grants); and those seeking to hire or bring back furloughed/laid-off employees.

How do I apply?

Visit the application page here to get started.

When can I apply?

The application opened on September 8, 2021; applications must be submitted by October 29, 2021 at 5pm.

Is there a cost to apply?


I have more than one business. Can I fill out an application for each of my companies?

No, you may only apply for one business, of which you are the majority owner.

Where did this funding come from?

Monroe County received funds from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Congress designated a portion of funds to go to local governments to meet urgent financial needs within communities.

Will my information be kept private?

All information collected is used to evaluate your application. All personal and business financial information will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law.

How will I receive the grant funds?

Grant funds will be administered via ACH to the entity named on the W9 provided in the grant agreement.

Is the grant amount considered taxable income?



Is there an age requirement to apply?

Yes, you must be 18 years or older at the time of submission to apply.

Can I apply for a grant if my company is based outside Monroe County, NY?

No. Only companies located in Monroe County, NY, with 90% of their employees working in Monroe County are eligible to apply.

I have a business that has multiple locations. When it is stated that the business must be 50 or fewer FTEs (full-time equivalents), does this apply to only one location, or does it apply to the company as a whole?

All employees count towards the 50 FTE census. To be eligible to receive the grant, 90 percent of the company’s employees must be based in Monroe County, NY.

Am I eligible if I live outside of Monroe County, NY?

As long as your business is located in Monroe County, NY, you are eligible to apply. Your personal residence does not impact this application.

What are the eligibility criteria?

Companies must meet the following criteria to be considered eligible for a grant.

  • Business Type: For-profit companies; LLPs, LLCs, Sole Proprietorships, C-Corps, and S-Corps
  • Age of Company: Formally established and in continuous operation since at least March 1st, 2020
  • Location: Based in Monroe County, NY
  • Revenue: Generated more than $0 and less than $7.5 million in annual revenue, based on Federal Tax Return
  • Employees: 50 or fewer W-2 based FTEs at the time of submitting your application
  • Other: Companies must be able to provide evidence of a significant loss of gross revenue, or a reduced level of production, sales, employment, or service due to COVID

See the full Grant Program Terms here.

Do part-time employees count as an employee?

Yes, any person on payroll counts as an employee; however, part-time employee hours need to be converted to FTEs to determine if the 50 employee FTE maximum is met (see the following question).

What constitutes a full-time equivalent (FTE) employee?

When an employer has a 40-hour workweek, employees scheduled to work 30 hours per week or more are considered 1.0 FTE. Employees scheduled to work less than 30 hours per week are considered 0.5 FTEs.

Do independent contractors and consultants count towards the employee criteria?

No, they do not count towards the employee total.

Is the grant program available to nonprofits or charities?

No, this program is only open to for-profit businesses.

Is the grant program available to franchises?

Franchises owned locally (not corporate franchises) with 5 or less locations do qualify. If each location is individually incorporated for the purposes of this program they will be considered as one entity due to ownership.

What other types of companies are ineligible to apply?

Residential and commercial real estate property business, investment vehicles that invest in the securities of other entities, sports venues, and professional service firms (examples: doctors, dentists, lawyers, certified public accountants (CPA), architects, engineers, etc.). 

Are there any other ineligibility criteria?

  • County-level elected officials and any immediate family members who have an ownership interest in a company are ineligible to apply.
  • Any companies and owners currently delinquent on any state, local or federal taxes are also ineligible to apply. This includes Real Property taxes.

Are there any requirements regarding how grant recipients can spend the grant money?

Yes, this grant can only be used to cover expenses incurred after March 1st, 2020 that have not already been reimbursed through other CARES Act funds including the Fast Forward Monroe 1.0, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization, etc. The distributed grant money must be spent on any combination of the following expenses.

  • Rent, lease, or mortgage payments
  • Utility payments
  • Payroll costs
  • Supplier payments
  • Personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies
  • Physical building adaptation (including interior and exterior updates) and equipment
  • Technology and digital resources, including tools and services as well as purchases for remote access
  • Website development/enhancements
  • Marketing/advertising
  • Replacement of perishable inventory lost due to COVID-19
  • Regulatory compliance fees (permits and licensing, insurance, workers’ comp, etc.)
  • Loss of Revenue due to COVID-19

* NOTE: If the business operates out of your home, you must provide information that breaks out allocation of costs that are directly associated with the business activity, similar to how it is represented on your tax return.

Can I use the grant money to pay off my small business loan?

You may use the grant money to pay for a loan only if it has been used to pay for eligible business operations expenses via our grant program (payroll, rent, utilities, etc). Please note that you must keep and submit detailed records surrounding the use of the loan.

What if I was forced to close because of COVID-19?

Certain businesses, such as spas, gyms, and restaurants mandated to temporarily close during the pandemic are still eligible to apply.  Your business must be open and operational at the time of application.

Does my business need to be open to apply? 

Yes, your business must be open and operational at the time of application.

We applied for the PPP program. Does this conflict?

No, businesses who received other COVID-19 related assistance are still eligible to apply.


What documents do I need to apply?

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Proof of Incorporation, Partnership, Business License, or official registration with a state or local agency proving the existence of your business. Click here to search the NYS Dept. of State
  • Proof of your business address (this can be a utility bill, lease agreement, insurance statement, or a similar document)
  • NYS-45 for companies with employees (sole proprietors will not submit this document)
  • A list of all owners names, percentage of ownership, and home addresses
  • 2019 and 2020 Federal Tax Returns for the business applicant 

Approved applications will be required to submit the following with the notarized grant agreement.

  • A Form W-9 for the entity that will receive the grant
  • Banking information for ACH, business name of account, bank account number, bank name, bank routing number (to be provided after grant is awarded).

When should I expect to hear back as to whether or not my company will receive funding?

Applications are reviewed in batches at the conclusion of the application period.  In order to keep our review moving forward, we will not be able to provide a status update during the process. If you call for a status update we may not be able to call you back.

All grant funding decisions will be made prior to December 31, 2021.

We appreciate your patience.

Can I edit my application after submitting it?

The application is NOT editable after you hit the submit button. You can save and edit your application as many times as needed before hitting submit. We recommend that you take your time reviewing your application and ensuring all information is correct before submitting.

Is it “first-come, first-eligible served,” or will you wait until the application deadline before you start to make decisions?

Applications will be reviewed at the conclusion of the application period. Decisions will be made at the end of the review process.  The grant program will emphasize diversity in distributing funds, prioritizing minority and women-owned businesses; businesses in highly-distressed zip codes; those who have yet to receive COVID-related aid (including previous Fast Forward Monroe grants); and those seeking to hire or bring back furloughed/laid-off employees.

Will the Program accept applications from undocumented immigrant and refugee business owners?

Businesses must be owned by individuals who are work authorized. Refugees can apply and are encouraged to do so.

Do I need to pay the money back if I receive the grant?

No, you are not required to pay the money back as long as you spend the money in accordance with the grant’s agreement. The Fast Forward Monroe grant program is not a loan.

Are applicants subject to a background check?

To ensure funding is only made available to eligible and legitimate businesses, applications will be subject to a multilayered due diligence process, including but not limited to background checks to ensure the business is using a proper tax identification number and that the business is properly registered.  

Additional Resources

What is a Form W-9, and how do I get one?

Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification is a one-page IRS information form that individuals and businesses use to send their taxpayer identification number to other individuals, clients, banks, and other financial institutions.

When a business pays a contractor $600 or more during a tax year, it has to report these payments to the IRS, using Form 1099-MISC. Businesses use the name, address, and Social Security number or tax identification number that contractors provide on Form W-9 to complete Form 1099-MISC. Neither the sender nor the recipient should send a copy to the IRS.

You can obtain a Form W-9 on the IRS website here.

What is an EIN? What if I don't have one?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number and identifies a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN.

If your business doesn't have an EIN, please provide your Social Security #.

How do I prove my business address?

  • Business utility bills
  • Business rental lease agreement
  • Mortgage statement
  • A current business license
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Business tax return

Still have questions?

Please contact the community partners listed below if you would like free assistance to complete an application. These organizations can also assist if you need assistance with uploading required documents into the online application portal.  


  • PathStone Enterprise Center, Inc. 
    • Adam Tidrow, Deputy Director for Economic Development - (716)436-2560 - [email protected]


  • Urban League of Rochester


Additional inquires: Monroe County Economic Development: 585-753-2000

Interpreting Services

Interpreting services will be provided upon request.  Please contact: 585-753-2000