Fast Break for Small Business: Eligibility, FAQs, How to Apply - Accion Opportunity Fund

Fast Break for Small Business: Eligibility, FAQs, How to Apply

AOF and LegalZoom have joined forces to provide entrepreneurs across the country with grants and LegalZoom services to support their small businesses.

Fastbreak for Small Business
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LegalZoom has teamed up with the NBA, WBNA, and NBA G League to assist communities by helping small business owners. Fast Break for Small Business is a $6 million commitment in small business grants and LegalZoom services to help thousands of small businesses all over the country, and Accion Opportunity Fund is the nonprofit administrator of the program.

HOW IT WORKS

LegalZoom, the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League are committed to encouraging entrepreneurship by helping small business owners everywhere, especially those who face obstacles because of who they are, who they love, or how they identify. Starting at WNBA Tip-Off, the second of six grant cycles will open in this multi-year program. Here’s how it will work:

  • $10,000 grants and a free LegalZoom product of their choosing, valued at up to $500, to 50 small businesses
  • A free LegalZoom product of their choosing, valued at up to $500, to 950 additional small businesses
  • The application for grants closed May 27, 2022. We will be announcing the grantees in July.
  • Applications will reopen during the 2022-2023 NBA season.

Eligibility REQUIREMENTS

Eligible small businesses must:

  • Be based in the United States
  • Have been in business for at least 6 months (since November 2021) and currently in operation
  • If in business for between 6 and 12 months, have one of the following: articles of incorporation for LLCs, S Corps, and C Corps; sole proprietorship formation; fictitious name statement or DBA; EIN registration; city, state, or federal license to do business; or relevant professional license [if the business is between 6 and 12 months old but does not have any of these documents, the business is not eligible for this opportunity]
  • Have an annual revenue of less than $1 million
  • Have a business bank account
  • Not be in an industry that has been identified as a prohibited industry for this program

Frequently Asked Questions

Click the links below to jump to your question.

Overview

Eligibility

Application Process

Submission and Troubleshooting

Grantee Selection and Awards

Overview

What is Fast Break for Small Business?

Fast Break for Small Business is a grant program supported by LegalZoom and the National Basketball Association to help small businesses that are continuing to recover in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The multi-year program will award $10,000 grants to 100 small businesses in its first year, 2022.

The first round of grants was disbursed in January 2022 and the second round later in July 2022 to coincide with the WNBA season. The grant program focuses on reaching people of color, women, low- to moderate-income small business owners, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and others who have historically had limited business financing access.

 

What are the roles of the organizations involved in this program?

LegalZoom and the NBA are the program sponsors. Accion Opportunity Fund is the grant fund administrator.

 

Eligibility

What are the criteria for eligible small businesses?

Eligible small businesses must:

  • Be based in the United States
  • Have been in business for at least 6 months (since November 2021) and currently in operation
  • If in business for between 6 and 12 months, have one of the following: articles of incorporation for LLCs, S Corps, and C Corps; sole proprietorship formation; fictitious name statement or DBA; EIN registration; city, state, or federal license to do business; or relevant professional license [if the business is between 6 and 12 months old but does not have any of these documents, the business is not eligible for this opportunity]
  • Have an annual revenue of less than $1 million
  • Have a business bank account
  • Not be in an industry that has been identified as a prohibited industry for this program

What if I do not have tax returns for my business?

Business tax returns are required if you have been operating for longer than 12 months. If you have been in business for 6-12 months and do not have tax returns, please submit one of the following:

  • articles of incorporation for LLCs, S Corps, and C Corps
  • sole proprietorship formation
  • fictitious name statement or DBA
  • EIN registration
  • city, state, or federal license to do business; or relevant professional license

What if I do not have a business license?

If you have been in business for 6-12 months and do not have one of the following: articles of incorporation for LLCs, S Corps, and C Corps; sole proprietorship formation; fictitious name statement or DBA; EIN registration; city, state, or federal license to do business; or relevant professional license, you are not eligible for this opportunity. To find out what business type is right for you, visit LegalZoom’s Business Formation page.

 

If I have been in business longer than 12 months, can I submit a business license instead of tax returns?

No, if you have been in business for longer than 12 months, you must submit business tax returns to be eligible for this opportunity.

 

Are sole proprietors eligible to apply?

Yes, sole proprietors are eligible to apply.

 

Can businesses located in U.S. territories apply?

No, businesses located in U.S. territories are not eligible for this opportunity. A business must be located within one of the 50 United States to be eligible.

 

What if I am an employee at a small business or serve in a management role at a small business, can I apply on its behalf?

No, you must own a small business to be eligible. Employees of small businesses are not eligible for this grant.

 

Are nonprofit organizations eligible to apply?

No, this opportunity is only open to owners of small businesses (for profit).

 

What industries are eligible to apply?

Businesses can apply from any industry EXCEPT the following, which are ineligible:

  • Adult entertainment including strip clubs, escort services, adult bookstores, and businesses whose principal business is the sale of pornography
  • Tobacco stores, smoke shops, cigarette & cigar retailers and wholesalers, cigarette stands
  • Firearms sellers, merchants, retailers, or wholesalers; ammunition sales; gun clubs; shooting ranges
  • Marijuana related businesses; cannabis dispensaries, marijuana crop farming, edibles
  • Massage parlors, saunas, or hot tub facilities
  • Illegal activities
  • Gambling and betting activities, racetracks
  • Real estate investment companies (residential and commercial), house flippers, hotels, businesses whose principal source of revenue is rental income
  • Banking and financial institutions; central banking; other monetary intermediation; trusts, funds, and similar financial entities
  • Merchant service companies, merchant sales organizations, payment services
  • Lending businesses; payday lenders, title lenders, other credit granting
  • Small Business loan brokers
  • Check cashers
  • Bail bonds
  • Pawn shops
  • Collection companies/lawyers or debt consolidation firms
  • Multi-level marketing companies or businesses based on pyramid sales plans
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Religious organizations, churches, temples, mosques and shrines and other services provided specifically for the religious community
  • Activities of political organizations
  • Transportation of hazardous materials
  • Oil and gas exploration/securities
  • Rideshare (i.e. Uber/Lyft drivers)

Do I have to be a United States citizen or legal resident to be eligible?

We do not request any information related to the immigration status of applicants. Applicants must answer all application questions and submit all required documentation to be eligible.

 

Do I have to be located in an NBA metro area to be eligible?

No, eligible business owners can be located anywhere in the 50 United States and do not have to be located in an NBA metro market like New York or Los Angeles.

 

Application Process

How do I apply?

Please complete the application here. Applicants will need to sign in or create an account with Submittable, the application software that we use, to submit an application.

 

When is the deadline to apply?

The deadline to apply was Friday, May 27, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. Applications will reopen during the 2022-2023 NBA season.

 

What languages is the application available in?

The application is only available in English.

 

Can my business apply more than once?

No, businesses should only apply to the opportunity one time. Duplicated entries will be excluded from consideration.

 

What documents do I have to submit with my application?

Most recent business tax returns

All pages of the most recent business tax returns. If the business files a Schedule C, please submit all pages of your 1040 personal tax return including the Schedule C. If you don’t have tax returns because your business is 6–12-month-old, you need to upload one of the following:

  • articles of incorporation for LLCs, S Corps, and C Corps
  • sole proprietorship formation
  • fictitious name statement or DBA
  • EIN registration
  • city, state, or federal license to do business; or relevant professional license

If the business is between 6 and 12 months old but does not have any of these documents, the business is not eligible for this opportunity.

Business owner’s ID

A front-and-back color copy of the business owner’s government-issued identification. Acceptable identification includes: a driver’s license, federal government employee ID card, passport, permanent resident card, alien resident card, or matricula consular.

Most recent bank statement

All pages of the most recent business bank statement [businesses that do not have a business bank account are not eligible for this opportunity].

Completed W9

All businesses must submit a completed W9 form – click here to download the form.

 

Why do I have to submit my bank information?

Bank information is submitted to make the deposit of grant funds via ACH if you are selected as a grantee. This information will only be used if you are selected.

 

If I have multiple businesses, can I apply multiple times?

No, each individual business owner may only apply once and is only eligible to receive one grant even if he or she owns more than one business.

 

Is there a fee to apply for the Fast Break for Small Business program?

No, there is no fee to apply for this grant program.

 

Submission and Troubleshooting

What if I am unable to upload all of the information requested?

You must provide all documentation requested. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Visit Submittable’s Resource Page to learn how to troubleshoot this problem or reach out to Submittable’s Customer Support team with any technical questions here.

 

Can I make changes to my application after submission?

No, you may not make any changes after the application has been submitted. If you made a mistake on your application, you can withdraw it and submit a new one.

 

Can I save my application as I am working on it?

Yes, you can save incomplete applications to return to at a later time.

 

Will I receive confirmation after the application has been submitted?

Yes, you will receive confirmation by email. Please be sure to whitelist notification emails from Submittable and check the email you used to sign up for your Submittable Account regularly.

 

What browser should I use?

Our platform works best on Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Internet Explorer is not supported. Please make sure you are using a supported browser.

You can download Firefox by following the instructions linked here.

You can download Chrome by following the instructions linked here.

 

Who do I contact if I’m having technical issues with the application?

Check out the Submitter Resource Center or reach out to Submittable’s Customer Support team with any technical questions here.

 

Grantee Selection and Awards

How will grantees be selected?

Following a random selection process, grantees will be vetted and verified by Accion Opportunity Fund to ensure they submitted a complete application, meet eligibility criteria and pass the business verification review.

 

When will I hear about the status of my application?

All applicants will be notified about the status of their application, whether they received a grant or not, in early July 2022.

 

When will the grant funds be distributed?

Grant funds will be distributed in July 2022.

 

How will I be notified if I will receive a grant?

All communications regarding the grant will be through emails from Accion Opportunity Fund, including the notification if you are selected to receive a grant.

 

How will the grant money be disbursed?

Grant money will be transferred from Accion Opportunity Fund to the grantees’ verified business bank account.

 

How can grant funds be used?

Grant funds are intended to be used for any legitimate business purpose.

 

How many grants will be awarded?

100 grants of $10,000 each will be awarded in two rounds. The first 50 grants were awarded in January 2022. The second group of 50 grants will be awarded in July 2022.

 

How many businesses will receive free LegalZoom products?

2,000 total businesses will be awarded one product from LegalZoom, or one of the legal services that LegalZoom offers valued at up to $500, each year, split into two rounds. All 100 grant recipients will receive the credit, and an additional 1,900 businesses will also receive a credit for a LegalZoom product or service.

 

Is there any other award aside from the $10,000?

Yes. 2,000 businesses will be awarded one LegalZoom service or product, valued at up to $500 each year, split into two rounds. The first 1,000 businesses received this award in January 2022, and the second group of 1,000 awards will be announced in July 2022.

 

Can I receive LegalZoom free services or products without receiving the $10,000 grant?

Yes. All 100 yearly grant recipients will receive the credit, and an additional 1,900 businesses will also receive LegalZoom services or products, valued at up to $500. The first group of awards went out in January 2022, and the second round will be awarded in July 2022: 50 business owners will receive a grant plus the LegalZoom product or service up to $500, and an additional 950 business owners will receive only the LegalZoom product or service, valued at up to $500.

 

Is the grant award considered taxable income?

Yes, this grant may be subject to tax reporting based on the value of the grant received. Accion Opportunity Fund will issue 1099 tax forms to all grant recipients in early 2023 to be filed as part of the 2022 tax year. Please consult with a tax professional to learn more.

 

How do winners of free LegalZoom products claim their award?

Winners will receive an email from Fast Break for Small Business with instructions and an exclusive phone line to talk to a LegalZoom expert.

 

Can I use my free LegalZoom product to form my business?

Yes! Grantees can decide how they want to use their product code with LegalZoom. Some popular options are business formation, trademark, and legal advisory.

 

Is there an expiration date to use my product code with LegalZoom?

Yes. You have six months to redeem your product code with LegalZoom.

 

If I received a grant in the last cycle, am I eligible to reapply?

If you received a grant in any previous grant cycle, you are ineligible to reapply. If you only received a LegalZoom product, you may reapply for your chance to receive the grant.

 

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