The California Dream Fund is administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) through select centers of the Technical Assistance Expansion Program (TAEP).

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 make 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 eligibility criteria to qualify for a Dream Fund Grant?

An entrepreneur must comply with the following conditions in order to qualify for a Dream Fund Grant.

1. Complete a defined small business/entrepreneurship curriculum and one-on-one counseling, as certified by a Dream Fund awarded TA center.

2.  Have established a legal business entity after July 1, 2019.

3. Meet the definition of a new business start by fulfilling the following conditions:

      • Has acquired the necessary permits and licenses to operate legally AND at least one of the following:
        1. Has made a first sale*
        2. Has spent money on business expenses; this may include legal and accounting fees*
        3. Has obtained capital for the business
        4. Has hired at least 1 employee(must be a W2 employee)
        5. Has created a business banking relationship
      • Meet the definition of a small business, defined as a business with 5 full-time equivalent employees or less and $1 million or less in annual receipts.
      • Each participating entrepreneur must agree to report on the progress of their business to the SB TAEP Center where they received their training for at least one year or until the business is no longer operating.

*Preferred qualifying events

What are ineligible businesses for the Dream Fund Program?

  1. Businesses that registered prior to July 1, 2019;
  2. Businesses without a physical location in California;
  3. Nonprofit businesses not registered as either a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) or 501(c)(19);
  4. Government entities (other than Native American tribes) or elected official offices;
  5. Businesses primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities (regardless of whether such entities qualify as a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) or 501(c)(19));
  6. Passive businesses, investment companies and investors who file a Schedule E on their personal tax returns;
  7. Churches and other religious institutions (regardless of whether such entities qualify as a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) or 501(c)(19)) , other than a school, child care, or other educational business affiliated where (i) greater than 50% of the gross annual revenue is derived from the school, child care facility or educational business and (ii) the grant will be used only for eligible costs and expenses directly related to the school, child care, or other educational business, and no portion of the grant will be used for any normal profit or overhead of the church or other religious institution;
  8. Financial businesses primarily engaged in the business of lending, such as banks, finance companies and factoring companies;
  9. Businesses engaged in any activity that is illegal under federal, state or local law; and
  10. Businesses of a prurient or sexual nature.

Are cannabis businesses eligible for participation?

No, cannabis businesses are not eligible.

What if my business received a business license in 2018 but business operations did not commence until 2020? Can I still apply?

No, the registration must be after July 1, 2019.

Can one applicant submit applications for multiple businesses?

No, in order to ensure that funding reaches as many entrepreneurs as possible, owners may only participate on behalf of one business.

Does the program all proxies for the training program or does the same person need to attend all trainings?

The business owner needs to complete the full training and consulting program. Please ensure that they are present and participating in the full training and consulting program.

What is the definition of a Small Business?

“Small business” for the Dream Fund Program means a business with 5 employees or less and $1 million or less in annual receipts.

What are the requirements to ensure a business complies with the definition of a small business?

A business may have no more than five full time equivalent employees, not counting the owner the business must also attest that they receive less and $1 million or less in annual receipts.

Are sole proprietors eligible for the program? What licenses/certifications will be required of a sole proprietor?

Yes. Sole proprietors are eligible. Sole proprietors will be required to provide all of the required documents required by all applicants, including a Fictitious Business Name (FBN), as part of their application.

Are friends/family of employees who work for service providers (Dream Fund Technical Assistance Partner, SBDC’s, etc.) eligible to participate?

Family members may not be enrolled by, trained by, or receive consulting from a family member who is an employee at a Dream Fund TA provider.

Will GO-Biz or Lendistry be providing California Dream Fund grantees with a checklist of required grant application documents & information?

Yes. However, please know that the list may not be exhaustive as there may be cases of unique business types and licenses that arise as the program is implemented. We are committed to working together with centers and Lendistry to address each case as it comes up.

What is a qualifying event?

A qualifying event is one of the eligibility criteria for the program. A qualifying event is at least one of the following activities. Please note that the qualifying events with a “*” are preferred. Businesses are strongly encouraged to achieve as many qualifying events as possible: 

  • Has made a first sale*
  • Has spent money on business expenses; this may include legal and accounting fees*
  • the client obtains capital for the business*
  • Has hired at least 1 employee
  • Has created a business banking relationship

What is the definition of "New Business Start"? Is it important to any part of the application and eligibility for the Dream Grant?

“New Business Start” means a new business entity established following substantive training and counseling at a SB TAEP Center. This is established by the following verified conditions: the client completed the Dream Fund participant training program; and the client obtains the necessary licenses and permits to operate their business with help from the SB TAEP Center; the client has established a physical location for their business and at least one of the following qualifying events: client has made a first sale, the client hired at least 1 employee, the client created a business banking relationship, the client has spent money on business expenses, this may include legal and accounting fees, and/or the client obtained third-party or owner capital for the business. The qualifying event is the item that will be included in the application process and verified by Lendistry.

If a business has a seller’s permit to operate a legal business, will they also need proof of a business license?

This would only be required if the city or county in which the business is operating requires a business license.

Our social enterprise was registered after the date in 2019 as a DBA. It is a social enterprise of a Church, which is an established non-profit that has been registered with the state for several decades. Would we qualify for this grant?

The nonprofit would need to obtain their own EIN and register with the Department of Justice as a separate organization that files a form 990. The nonprofit would need to take necessary steps to ensure their revenue streams are accounted for completely separately from the church.

If an applicant has established a business before July 1, 2019, and has another new business under that one that is established after the July 1, 2019 date, would they still be eligible under their new business? If so, what type of qualifying documents would they need to show to support this?

To qualify for the Dream Fund, a business must have registered after July 1, 2019. A business established under an existing business does not qualify. 

The business was open in 2019 and meets the income requirements but it was under different ownership. It is the same business, but the new owners took over in 2020. They were curious if they would be eligible for the grant since the business was open prior to 2019 even though it was under different ownership.

No. Per statute, the business registration must have occurred after July 1, 2019.

Are gig workers (i.e., Uber and Lyft drivers) eligible for the Dream Fund?

No. The Dream Fund is intended to spur entrepreneurship and job creation.

 

What are the funding categories and are there specific requirements to qualify for a $5,000 grant versus a $10,000 grant?

Business Type for $5,000 Grants
E-Commerce/Marketplace
Childcare—Operating In-Home
Small Lab/Makers Space
Service/Professional/Cottage Industry
Brick-and-mortar business (operating under a sub-lease and not primary occupant, co-working space, etc.)
Construction Trade (unlicensed non-general contractor and other subcontractors without license)
Transportation (semitruck, towing truck, freight site dispatching, broker, etc.)

 

Business Type for $10,000 Grants
Childcare—Operating in a Commercial Space
Brick-and-mortar business (must have a fully executed master lease, sub-lease for which business is primary occupant, or letter of intent in a commercial space. Must be operating a storefront, commercial space, etc.)
Green Technology/Infrastructure business creating a scalable technology-based company where funds will be utilized for IP, prototype development, or to create a proof of concept through R&D
Manufacturing business (must have fully executed lease in commercial space)
Professional (non-consulting)/Scientific/Technical business creating a scalable technology company where funds will be utilized for IP, prototype development, or to create a proof of concept through R&D
Construction Trades (general contractor, major subcontractor, or other construction trade (e.g., plumbing, electrical, etc.) operating under a valid applicable license
Agriculture, Wildlife Mitigation/Forestry (either a procurement or other contracting business operating under a state or federal certification from a relevant government body (e.g., U.S. Forestry Service, CalOES, USDA, etc.) or other farming business)

This program will rely on the small business’s NAICS code (as reported on the small business’s most recent tax return if available, or the small business’s attestation to eligibility from the SB TAEP) to validate business type.

What happens if a business fails within the first year?

It is the expectation of the Dream Fund program that centers provide ongoing training and consulting to support business through their first year of business (and beyond). The business will need to maintain records for a minimum of two (2) years and agree to continued reporting for one (1) year after the program closes.

 

What will be the frequency in grant award disbursement?

Grants will be issued on a rolling basis in line with each center’s grant reservation. CalOSBA and Lendistry will provide additional information soon about the specific process and timing of grants.

 

Business type: Some businesses may qualify for the $5k and $10k simultaneously. For example, a brick-and-mortar business could also sell their products through e-commerce. If businesses are expected to self-certify, then most likely businesses will categorize themselves under the $10k grant category. Is there any further guidance for us in terms of how we direct applicants to categorize themselves? Is there any expectation for how they certify themselves under an industry category (support documents?)

The center will certify, in their expert capacity, the category that the business belongs to.

Is there a required template for the Business Plan Narrative?

Yes. The Business Plan Narrative must be completed in an approved template that is provided by your participating Technical Assistance Extension Program center.

Can the Business Plan Narrative be handwritten?

Yes. The Business Plan Narrative can be handwritten provided that the applicant is usng the approved Business Plan Narrative template. Repsonses must be written in English and with neat penmanship. 

Application Guidance

I am having trouble accessing my application and/or my login credentials for Lendistry’s Portal are not working. How do I troubleshoot my account?

To log into Lendistry’s Portal, you will need to use the email address, password, and mobile number you registered at the beginning of the application process. Please review the Program and Application Guide for reference.

If you are unable to sign in to Lendistry’s Portal with these credentials, review the following steps to troubleshoot your account.

    1. If you do not know the email address or mobile number you registered, please contact our Call Center at 888-585-7361 (Monday – Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. PST).
    2. If you do not know your password, you will need to reset it yourself. Our Call Center does not have access to your password. To reset your password, please CLICK HERE.

Sign in to Lendistry’s Portal Here: https://cadreamfund.mylendistry.com/landing

If I receive an award, will I have to pay it back?

No. The award is a grant and is not a loan that is required to be repaid. However, the State of California 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.

Do I have to pay taxes on the grant proceeds?

Yes, you will receive tax information related to the grant proceeds, which you will need to report on your tax returns. Please consult with a tax professional for additional information.

How will I know you have all my information to be considered?

You will receive a confirmation email from [email protected] to confirm your application has been received. If more information or documents are needed, Lendistry may contact you by email, phone, and/or text (if authorized) to verify the information you submitted. Lendistry is available to assist you in understanding what business information is needed and how to upload documents.

Confirmation emails come from Lendistry at [email protected] If you did not receive a confirmation email after submitting your application, please check your spam folder for emails from [email protected] and add the email address to your email account’s safe sender list.

TIP: Place “Lendistry” in your search bar.

What are the required documents?

For Lendistry to review an application, applicants must upload all the following required documentation:

1. Application Access Code*

2. Application Certification/Attestation;

3. Government-Issued Identification;

4. Proof of Business Organization (at least one of the following):

      • Articles of Incorporation;
      • Articles of Organization;
      • Business License;
      • Fictitious Business Name;

5.Professional/Board/Occupational Licensure (where applicable);

6. 2019 and/or 2020 full and complete/unaltered Tax Returns (where businesses were operational in those periods);

7. Business Plan Narrative;

8. Registration with the Department of Justice Charitable Trust Registry (for nonprofit organizations only); and

9. Assistance Certificate of Completion.*

 

*The California Dream Fund is only available through select centers of the California Small Business Technical Assistance Expansion Program (TAEP) Network of Centers.

To be eligible for a grant, new entrepreneurs and small business owners must successfully complete an intensive training and consulting program through a participating center to be eligible to apply for a microgrant up to $10,000.

Eligible applicants will be given a Certificate of Completion containing code that will be required to submit an application.

How do I check the status of my application?

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. 

Sign into Lendistry’s Portal here: https://cadreamfund.mylendistry.com/landing 

How will I know if I was awarded a grant?

The application process for this program contains multiple stages of validation. You 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.

Once you are determined to be eligible for this program, your application will then go through final validation to determine if you are approved or declined for funding. As part of this validation process, you will be required to confirm certain information live over the telephone. A member of Lendistry’s team will reach out to you directly to complete this process.

Once your application is fully validated, you will receive an email from Lendistry to notify you if you have been approved or declined for grant funding.

My documents and bank information has been fully validated and I have been approved for funding. When will I receive funding?

Once your application has been fully validated and approved for grant funding, your grantee agreement and W-9 form will become available to you as a DocuSign document in Lendistry’s Portal. Please sign in and follow the instructions from DocuSign to initial, sign, and date both documents.

Sign into Lendistry’s Portal here: https://cadreamfund.mylendistry.com/landing 
 
Important Note: Your funds will not be released until this is complete. 

 

A government-issued photo ID is a required document. Is a state ID allowed instead of a driver's license? Or would other forms of picture identification be allowed?

Yes. You will need to verify your identity using Persona by uploading a picture of your valid government-issued ID which can be a driver’s license, state ID, or United States passport. Foreign-government issued IDs (i.e., foreign passport, Matricula Consular, etc.) are acceptable as well. You will also need to take a selfie using a device with a front-facing camera.

What is Persona?
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.

Do I have to submit documentation to verify ownership? Do multi-owner companies have to submit for one owner or all?

An application must be submitted by the majority owner of the business. Applicants will need to certify that the application is being submitted on behalf of the applicant by the majority owner of the applicant as a condition to receiving the grant. Only one business owner can apply.

Who is a permissible “authorized representative” for executing a nonprofit’s certification and grantee agreement?

A nonprofit’s business certification and grantee agreement must be executed by the organization’s executive director or equivalent senior managing officer of the organization. This individual must be the same individual listed on the organization’s Statement of Information filed with the state.

I am a nonprofit applicant that is not yet required to file its 2020 tax return with the IRS due to the IRS’s extension of the return due dates for exempt organizations. Can I still apply without providing the 2020 federal and California tax returns?

A 2021 tax return is not required to apply. However, where businesses were operational and have reported revenue in 2019 and/or 2020, full and complete/unaltered Tax Returns will be required.

My business was deemed ineligible for this grant program. How do I request a reexamination of my file?

Only one reexamination request is allowed for each application.

You will be noitfied 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 888-585-7361, Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:00 am-7:00 pm PST 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.

My business was declined for the grant. How do I request a reexamination of my file?

Only one reexamination request is allowed for each application.

You will be notifiied 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 888-585-7361, Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:00 am-7:00 pm PST 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.

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 888-585-7361 (Monday – Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. PST) 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.

If your application is reinstated, Lendistry may request additional documentation or information to validate the information you have provided in your application. If requested, you will be required to upload all documents within 48 hours or two business days of the request to keep your application open, so please be on the lookout for communication from us to prevent delays in the review process. Please note that this will not guarantee a reversal of your ineligibility.

If your ineligibility is confirmed, 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) 585-7361 (Monday – Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. PT) 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.

If your application is reinstated, Lendistry may request additional documentation or information to validate the information you have provided in your application. If requested, you will be required to upload all documents within 48 hours or two business days of the request to keep your application open, so please be on the lookout for communication from us to prevent delays in the review process. Please note that this will not guarantee a reversal of your decline determination.

If your decline determination is confirmed, your file will be closed.

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