e-commerce Accelerator Incentive Program

Helotes Economic Development (HEDC) encourages small businesses within the City of Helotes to diversify by establishing and promoting e-commerce sales to complement their brick-and-mortar storefront for the retail and service industry. E-commerce has become increasingly important for businesses in the past decade and the COVID19 pandemic has magnified its significance in business models. Consumer behavior continues to change rapidly. Growing E-commerce businesses during this crisis will result in stronger Helotes businesses post-COVID19.

Helotes Economic Development is committing $75,000 to this marketing program that provides a maximum $5,000 matching grant per business to reimburse up to 75% of total project cost to establish, operate, and promote e-commerce for their business.

Eligibility

Eligibility for grant consideration SHALL minimally include the following:

Business holds a current Certificate of Occupancy and is located within the corporate limits of the City of Helotes

Businesses must be for-profit;

Business must operate at least one storefront location within the Helotes city limit. Excludes: temporary locations, farmer’s market vendors, consignment vendors, etc.;

All of E-commerce transactions for the Helotes business location must be fulfilled in Helotes;

Businesses must be in good standing with the City of Helotes with respect to taxes, fees, or other financial obligations, and is in compliance with all applicable zoning, land use, and other ordinances;

Business owner must provide a no litigation certificate.

Small businesses shall be defined by the HEDC and may be based upon the following, non-exclusive list of factors:

1. Annual gross revenue of not more than $4 million;
2. Must have 40 or fewer FTE (full time equivalent) employees;
3. and Number of business locations.

Grant Amount and Use

Grants will be made on a first-come, first-served basis with a maximum grant amount of up to $5,000 or 75% of total project cost, whichever is less. The Grant recipients must contribute a minimum of 25% of total project cost. Grant funds are to be used to cover approved costs as determined by the Helotes Economic Development staff and board, and are subject to the eligibility requirements (below).

Grantees will qualify under one of two Levels:

LAUNCH E-commerce

Online presence established and E-commerce sales begin. Promotional efforts begin. Expense ratio up to 75% Preparation & 25% Promotion.

AMPLIFY E-commerce

E-commerce enhanced & promotions increased. Expense ratio up to 25% Preparation & 75% Promotion.

Website Creation

e-Commerce Platform-setup and Annual Subscription Fee

Online Reservations

Contactless Payment

Social Accounts

Google Advertising

Search Engine Optimization

Social Media Boost

75%

of Total Project Cost Funded.

$5000

Matching Grant per Business

$75000

Total Grant Funding

Application Process

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  1. Early Application submission is encouraged as proposals will be evaluated as received and early grant awards are likely.
  2. Applicant will apply online and/or download the application from www.helotesedc.com/e-commerce
  3. Applicant will prepare a proposal that includes a Scope of Work with itemized project details and marketing plans, provider/consultant contact info, timelines, and budget line item details such as one-time expenses and reoccurring expenses. For example, if applicant’s proposed project includes website design, e-commerce subscription, and ad placement services from the same consultant then itemized details will be needed for the proposal and monthly reports. The submitted Scope of Work should be specific enough for the HEDC to evaluate whether the proposed services are eligible under program guidelines.
  4. Applicant will include Baseline Statistics: current number of Website Visits, Website Bounce Rates, Website Length of Visits, Page Reports (Facebook, Instagram Business, etc.), Number of E-commerce sales/transactions, Value of E-commerce sales/transactions, etc.
  5. Applicant should complete, sign, and submit the grant application (including itemized projects, chosen provider(s), budget, and timelines via the website)
  6. HEDC staff will email notification to the applicant acknowledging receipt of their application.
  7.  Applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis by the HEDC staff.
  8. Applicants will be notified of the decision via email. If approved, the email will serve as authority for the applicant to begin work. Website/e-commerce provider completes the Project Preparation as quoted.
  9. E-commerce Promotion will begin once Preparation is complete.
Windmill at City Hall

Select Vendor & Provide a Proposal with Scope of work

Provide Baseline Satistics

HEDC staff will review applications and notify the approved application via email.

Start E-Commerce Preparation / Promotion

Provide Monthly Report & Get Reimbursed

Reporting

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  1. Monthly reports from the business will include completed Preparation, completed Promotion, and Statistics updates, along with paid invoices for reimbursement.
  2. HEDC staff will verify project compliance as detailed in the proposal and provide grant reimbursement to the applicant business.
  3. To receive the approved grant reimbursement, the approved applicant business pays the website/service provider in full and submits an invoice marked paid to HEDC once per month with their monthly update report.
  4. After six months HEDC involvement and monitoring will be complete.