Grant applicants must undergo a due diligence process and may apply for the funding levels in the Tiers listed below. Tiers are designed to help grant applicants build sustainable businesses, at every stage of business development. 

Tier 1 – Establish the Business
Up to $1,000

Tier 2 – Get Compliant
Up to an additional $2,000; $3,000 cumulative

Tier 3 – Open the Business
Up to an additional $3,000; $6,000 cumulative

Tier 4 – Start Operations
Up to an additional $4,000; $10,000 cumulative

Tier 5 – Grow the Business   Amount – Up to an additional $5,000; $15,000 cumulative. Tier 5 is only available to businesses that are either 100% owned by equity qualified individuals or businesses that match the City’s loan amount with an equal-sized loan from a third-party. 

Tier 6Expand the Business.  Amount – Up to an additional $6,000; $21,000 cumulative.  Tier 6 is only available to businesses that are either 100% owned by equity qualified individuals or businesses that match the City’s loan amount with an equal-sized loan from a third-party. 

 To qualify for a grant, applicants must:

  1. Be an Equity Qualified Individual. The business in which the Equity Qualified Individual owns 50% or more may also be a grant applicant
  2. Have submitted a cannabis permit application
  3. Meet the Income Verification Criteria at the time that they apply for a grant
  4. Submitted the required prerequisite and assessment materials
  5. Meet the requirements associated with that Tier (see chart below)

Applicants can apply for the aggregate grant amount associated with all Tiers for which they qualify.  For example, if an applicant meets the requirements for Tiers 1, 2 and 3, they may apply for $6,000 at once. However, first-time Applicants may only apply for a maximum amount of $15,000. Tier 6 is only available to Applicants that have been previously issued a  City of Oakland equity grant. Applicants can also apply for less than the full amount of a given tier for which they qualify.

Follow-on Grant Qualifications:  Applicants may also apply for the next grant Tier (Follow-on Grant) as long as:

  1. They meet the requirements for the next Tier or Tiers for which they are applying
  2. Provide receipts showing they spent 70% of their previous grant on eligible expenses,
  3. If they have an equity loan, are not delinquent and have made on-time loan payments for the three previous consecutive months.
  4. Are compliant with required licenses, permits and taxes

If an applicant is approved for a Follow-on Grant, their original grant agreement will be amended such that the grantee does not have more than one Equity Grant outstanding at a time. 

Grants for Equity Applicants with Equity Loans

If a Grant Applicant has received a loan under the City of Oakland Equity Loan Program, they may bypass the above prerequisites and Assessment Score process. Therefore, only the following documentation is required:

  • Updated business plan
  • Updated 12-month monthly financial projections
  • Updated Use of Proceeds/Budget which shows how the applicant plans to use the grant funding
  • Have enrolled in the City of Oakland Equity Entrepreneurship Program GRASS 1.0 – Gaining Resources to Achieve Sustainable Success (program description found here).

An Equity Grant Applicant with a prior Equity Loan must be current on their Equity Loan for three consecutive months.  If not current, the Equity Grant applicant must be active in the City of Oakland entrepreneurial program GRASS 2.0 (program description found here) and must submit receipts showing expenditures equal to 100% of the loan amount received to date.

It is important to note that Equity Loan recipients that are delinquent are not eligible for a grant unless they enter into an Equity Loan Modification Agreement whose program is described here.  If an Equity Loan recipient has entered into a Loan Modification Agreement, they are eligible to apply for 50% of the amount available for the grant tier(s) that they qualify for.