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Frequently Asked Questions

Program Overview

Who is Lendistry?

  • Lendistry is a technology partner that hosts and manages the portal for the Program’s grant application and will process grant payments to approved applicants. Applicants will receive notifications from Lendistry on the status of their application and requests for business information and supporting documents, including their business bank account information.
  • Visit lendistry.com to learn more about Lendistry.

What is the New York State Seed Funding Grant Program?

  • The New York State Seed Funding Grant Program (the “Program”) was created to provide assistance to early-stage small businesses to succeed in a recovering New York State economy.
  • Eligible Applicants must provide evidence, acceptable to New York State that the Eligible Applicant is operational and meets the program requirements.
  • As part of the application each micro-business, small business, or for-profit arts and cultural organization including independent arts contractors shall provide sufficient documentation in a manner prescribed by Empire State Development (ESD) to demonstrate program qualification.
  • Only one grant per business EIN or SSN allowed.
  • Due to a limited amount of funding and the high volume of requests expected, business type, geography and industry may factor into ability to receive a grant.

What is an “eligible business”?

  • Small businesses, Micro-businesses and For-profit independent arts and cultural organizations, including independent arts contractors submitting an application for a grant award to the Program (collectively, “Eligible Applicants”) must:
    1. Be incorporated in New York State or licensed or registered to do business in New York State and must be resident in the State of New York;
    2. Be a currently viable Micro-business, Small business, or For-profit arts and cultural organization including independent arts contractors that started business on September 1, 2018 or later and has been operational for at least six months before an application is submitted;
    3. Have between five thousand dollars ($5,000) and one million dollars ($1,000,000) in gross receipts per annum as reflected on their most recent Federal Business Tax Return (line 1a, IRS Form 1120 or 1065; line 1 IRS Form 1040 Schedule C) or be able to demonstrate five thousand dollars ($5,000) in business expenses for businesses that have not yet filed a Federal Business Tax Return;
    4. Be in substantial compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, codes and requirements;
    5. Not owe any federal, state or local taxes, or have an approved repayment, deferral plan, or agreement with appropriate federal, state, and local taxing authorities;
    6. Not qualify for business assistance grant programs under the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 or any other available federal COVID-19 economic recovery or business assistance grant programs, including loans forgiven under the federal Paycheck Protection Program, or are unable to obtain sufficient business assistance from such federal programs.*

      * Eligible Applicants may have received or been awarded the following federal assistance:

      • Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling $250,000 or less.
      • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19 of any size.
      • COVID-19 EIDL Advance Grant of any size.
      • COVID-19 EIDL Supplemental Targeted Advance Grant of any size.
      • SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant of any size.
      • Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant of any size.
    7. Did not qualify for business assistance under the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program.

What costs are eligible for the New York State Seed Funding Grant Program?

  • The following costs incurred between September 1st, 2018 and January 1st, 2022 shall be considered eligible for the program. These include:
    1. Payroll costs; or
    2. Commercial Rent or mortgage payments for NYS-based property; or
    3. Payment of local property or school taxes associated with a small business location in NYS; or
    4. Insurance costs; or
    5. Utility costs; or
    6. Costs of personal protection equipment (PPE) necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety; or
    7. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) costs; or
    8. Other machinery or equipment costs; or
    9. Supplies and materials necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols; or
    10. Other documented COVID-19 costs as approved by ESD.

What are the eligibility criteria to qualify for the New York State Seed Funding Grant Program?

  • Small businesses, Micro-businesses and For-profit independent arts and cultural organizations, including independent arts contractors submitting an application for a grant award to the Program (collectively, “Eligible Applicants”) must:
    1. Be incorporated in New York State or licensed or registered to do business in New York State and must be resident in the State of New York;
    2. Be a currently viable Micro-business, Small business, or For-profit arts and cultural organization including independent arts contractors that started business on September 1, 2018 or later and has been operational for at least six months before an application is submitted;
    3. Have between five thousand dollars ($5,000) and one million dollars ($1,000,000) in gross receipts per annum as reflected on their most recent Federal Business Tax Return (line 1a, IRS Form 1120 or 1065; line 1 IRS Form 1040 Schedule C) or be able to demonstrate five thousand dollars ($5,000) in business expenses for businesses that have not yet filed a Federal Business Tax Return;
    4. Be in substantial compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, codes and requirements;
    5. Not owe any federal, state or local taxes, or have an approved repayment, deferral plan, or agreement with appropriate federal, state, and local taxing authorities;
    6. Not qualify for business assistance grant programs under the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 or any other available federal COVID-19 economic recovery or business assistance grant programs, including loans forgiven under the federal Paycheck Protection Program, or are unable to obtain sufficient business assistance from such federal programs.*

      * Eligible Applicants may have received or been awarded the following federal assistance:

      • Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling $250,000 or less.
      • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19 of any size.
      • COVID-19 EIDL Advance Grant of any size.
      • COVID-19 EIDL Supplemental Targeted Advance Grant of any size.
      • SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant of any size.
      • Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant of any size.
    7. Did not qualify for business assistance under the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program.

What are the eligible grant awards for the New York State Seed Funding Grant Program?

  • For firms that have already filed a Federal Tax Return for operations:
    1. Grant awards will be calculated based upon the annual amount of gross receipts as shown on their provided 2020 or 2021 business tax return.
      • Businesses with $5,000 and up to $49,999.99 in gross receipts: Award is $5,000/business.
      • Businesses with $50,000 – $99,999.99 in gross receipts: Award is $10,000/business.
      • Businesses with $100,000 – $1,000,000 in gross receipts: Award is 10% of Gross receipts with a maximum grant amount of $25,000/business.
  • For firms that have NOT filed a Federal Tax Return for operations thus far:
    1. Award is $5,000/business.

What businesses or organizations are ineligible for a grant award under the New York State Seed Funding Grant Program?

  1. All Non-Profits, Churches and other religious institutions; and
  2. Government-owned entities or elected official offices; and
  3. Businesses primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities; and
  4. Landlords and passive real estate businesses.

What documents are needed to apply for the New York State Seed Funding Grant Program?

  • For Proof of Gross Receipts and date of formation:
    1. Most recently filed 2020 or 2021 Federal Business tax return (If business has filed a return since beginning operation).
  • Proof of Business Organization (and date of formation if tax document is not available – provide one (1) of the following):
    1. Current Business License; or
    2. Articles of Organization; or
    3. Certificate of Assumed Name (DBA); or
    4. NYS Certificate of Authority; or
    5. Certificate of Incorporation; or
    6. Proof of assignment of EIN by Internal Revenue (IRS Form CP-575); or
    7. NYS municipality issued document showing authorization to operate in NYS.
  • For Independent Arts Contractors only*, proof of business organization and past operations may also be satisfied through the submission of the following:
    1. List of performance activities for the six months prior to application; and
    2. Proof of these arts performances taking place by providing one of the following:
      • Copy of the executed legal contract that describes the performances with proof of payment; or
      • A 1099 for the payment of the performance/s, and a third-party affidavit describing the engagement, naming the arts contractor, and providing information on the payment of the performance; and
    3. Any other documentation ESD and the grant administrator may request to verify that the contractor is operating as an independent arts contractor.
  • * All other requirements set forth in these Guidelines remain applicable to and for Independent Arts Contractors.

  • Proof of business location in NYS -– any one (1) of the following documents:
    1. Current lease; or
    2. Current utility bill; or
    3. Current business mortgage statement; or
    4. Business credit card statement; or
    5. Professional insurance bill; or
    6. Payment processing statement; or
    7. NYS ST-809 or ST-100 sales tax collection documentation; or
    8. Most recently filed NYS 45 Document.
  • Schedule of ownership: Listing of names, addresses, Social Security numbers or ITIN numbers, phone numbers, e-mails, percentage ownership, and photo ID for any owners with more than 20% ownership of business.
  • Prior three months of full and complete bank statements for business bank account showing current activity (statements should reflect sufficient flows to demonstrate required expenses for businesses that have yet to file a tax return).
  • For funds distribution: W-9 and business bank account information. Business bank account required for funds distribution.
  • Additional documentation regarding proof of expenses may be requested as determined by the grant processing agent.

Can one applicant submit multiple businesses?

  • No. Applicants may only submit one application. Submitting multiple applications may be detected as potential fraud and disrupt the review process for your application.

Application Guidance

How can Lendistry’s Portal be accessed if an applicant’s login credentials are not working?

  • To log into Lendistry’s Portal, applicants will need to use the email address, password, and mobile number they registered at the beginning of the application process. Please review the Program and Application Guide for reference.
  • If you are an applicant of the New York State Seed Funding Grant Program and are unable to sign in to Lendistry’s Portal with your registered credentials, review the following steps to troubleshoot your account.
  • If you do not know the email address or mobile number you registered, please contact our Call Center at 888-585-0312 (Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST).
  • If you do not know your password, you will need to reset it yourself. Our Call Center does not have access to your password. Click HERE to reset your password.
  • Lendistry’s Portal can be accessed HERE.

Do grant awards with the New York State Seed Funding Grant Program have to be repaid?

  • No. The award is a grant and is not a loan that is required to be repaid. However, the State of New York has the right to seek all available remedies for failing to comply with the terms and conditions of the grant, including, without limitation, if the grantee was ineligible, used funds for unauthorized purposes or made false statements in connection with the grant application.

Are grant proceeds taxed?

  • Yes. Recipients of a grant award will receive tax information related to their grant proceeds, which will need to be reported on their tax returns. Please consult with a tax professional for additional information.

How will applicants be notified to confirm Lendistry has received all of their required information and documentation to be considered for a grant?

  • Applicants will receive a confirmation email from [email protected] to confirm their application has been received. If more information or documents are needed, Lendistry may contact applicants by email, phone, and/or text (if authorized) to verify the information you submitted. Lendistry is available to assist applicants in understanding what business information is needed and how to upload documents.
  • Confirmation emails come from Lendistry at [email protected] If an applicant did not receive a confirmation email after submitting their application, we advise the applicant to check their spam folder for emails from [email protected] and add the email address to their email account’s safe sender list.
  • TIP: Place “Lendistry” in the search bar.

How can applicants check the status of their application during the review process?

  • You can check the status of your application at any time by signing into Lendistry’s Portal using the username, password, and mobile number that you registered. Once signed in, the status will appear on the dashboard.
  • Lendistry’s Portal can be accessed HERE.

How are applicants approved or declined for grant funding?

  • The application process for this Program contains multiple stages of validation. Eligible applicants must first meet the Program’s minimum eligibility requirements in order to be considered for a grant.Important Note: Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee a grant award.Eligible applicants will then go through final stages of validation to determine if they are approved or declined for funding.

    Lendistry will notify all applicants of their determination.

What forms of government-issued photo ID will be accepted?

  • Applicants will be required to verify their identity using Persona by uploading a picture of a valid government-issued photo ID.
  • Acceptable forms of goverment-issued photo ID include:
    1. Driver’s License;
    2. United States Passport; and
    3. State ID.
  • Applicants will also need to take a selfie using a device with a front-facing camera to complete the Persona verification.
  • What is Persona?
    1. Persona is a third-party platform utilized by Lendistry in its fraud prevention and mitigation process. The Persona platform enables Lendistry to verify an individual’s identity and protect against identity spoofing by automatically comparing the individual’s selfie to their ID portrait with a 3-point composite and biometric liveness checks.

Can an applicant be reexamined if they were deemed ineligible for this grant program?

  • Only one reexamination request is allowed for each application.
  • You will be notified via email if you are ineligible for this grant program. If there was an error in your web application form or in the documentation provided as part of your application, please contact our dedicated Call Center at 888-585-0312 (Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST) within five (5) days of receiving this email. Please note that this will not guarantee a reversal of your ineligibility. Additional documents and information may be requested to further validate your application.
  • If Lendistry does not hear from you within this timeframe, your ineligibility will be sustained and your file will be closed.

Can an applicant be reexamined if they were declined for a grant award?

  • Only one reexamination request is allowed for each application.
  • You will be notified via email if you are declined for a grant award. If you believe you were declined in error, please contact our dedicated Call Center at (888) 585-0312 (Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET) within five (5) days of receiving this email. Please note that this will not guarantee a reversal of your decline determination. Additional documents and information may be requested to further validate your application.
  • If Lendistry does not hear from you within this timeframe, your decline determination will remain permanently and your file will be closed.
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