Eligibility Policy

Start Small’s mission is to help under resourced individuals build and sustain thriving businesses in order to increase their personal financial security and stimulate economic activity in underserved communities in New York City and the Bay Area.

Entrepreneurs eligible for Start Small assistance must meet ALL of the following criteria:

1. Location. Eligible entrepreneurs must either live or operate a business that is physically located in one of the five boroughs of New York City OR one of the following counties in California: Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Francisco or San Mateo.

2. Business stage and Characteristics. You must be currently selling goods/services and have documented sales for the past 3 months in the total amount of at least $500. The business has not raised more than $75,000 in equity capital, including, but not limited to convertible debt, common equity, preferred equity, or SAFE note.

If your business has not yet begun to conduct sales, Start Small Think Big may still consider your application*, if one of the following conditions are met:

If you are purchasing an existing business and have 1) agreed to a purchase price for that business, and 2) have a credible financing plan in place.

If you have a proposed commercial lease or vendor contract in hand.

*Note the submission of a written, credible plan to begin conducting sales within 12 months will be required.

3. Household financial circumstances and resources. Household income (including applicant’s share of net business income) must not exceed 500% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines ("FPG"). Please refer to the chart below. Also, applicant’s household must have less than $50,000 in eligible assets (note: a retirement account balance is not considered an eligible asset).

Household Size 500%
 1 $62,450
 2 $84,550 
 3 $106,650 
 4 $128,750 
 5 $150,850 
 6 $170,050 
 7 $195,050 
 8 $217,150 

Start Small reserves the right to make the final determination whether Start Small’s services are appropriate for a business and if serving the business is aligned with Start Small’s mission.