Small Business CARES Relief Grants

Beginning December 7, small businesses with 100 or fewer employees that have suffered economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for grants up to $50,000. These funds were made available to small businesses after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Legislature appropriated $100 million of CARES Act funds to New Mexico's small business community through the Special Legislative Session that convened on November 24. Applications for this program will close on December 18.

New Mexico Finance Authority logo 

This program is administered by the New Mexico Finance Authority.

When you are ready to apply, visit


The Small Business CARES Relief Grant Program offers up to $50,000 in financial aid to New Mexico businesses with 100 or fewer employees that have experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, $100 million will be available through this program. This program is available to for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations with 100 or fewer employees, and priority will be given to businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector. This is a grant program, not a loan - so there are no requirements for businesses to pay back any part of grant funding provided through this program. This program is administered by the New Mexico Finance AuthorityApplications for this program open on Monday, Dec. 7, at 12:00 pm and close on Friday, Dec. 18 at 12:00 pm.



Small Business CARES Relief Grants are available to New Mexico for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations with 100 or fewer employees that meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Sole proprietorship owned by a New Mexico resident, or
  2. Corporations, partnerships, joint ventures, limited liability companies or limited partnerships that are at least 51% owned by one or more New Mexico residents, or
  3. Nonprofit corporation designated as a 501(c)(3), 501(C)(6) or 501(c)(8) entity, or a 501(c) organization that serves past or present members of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Eligible Costs

The grant may be used for:

  • regular expenses that cannot be paid without additional assistance due to revenue losses due to the pandemic
  • expenses incurred due to the pandemic, such as PPE or retrofitting a business to meet COVID-19 safety guidelines
  • Businesses must demonstrate actual loss



The application process will be conducted digitally. The online application process does not allow for users to save progress and return at a later point - so in order to avoid wasting time and effort, it is recommended that applicants have all relevant information and documentation in electronic form prepared before beginning the application. Below is a summary of the process you can expect:

  1. The New Mexico Finance Authority is using a third-party application system called Formstack, which applicants will access at The Formstack system has built-in logic to determine eligibility based upon answers provided by the applicant.
  2. NMFA is requiring applicants to have a checking account at a federally-insured financial institution
  3. Applicants selected for funding will be notified via email and will execute the documents using digital signatures
  4. Grants will be funded thereafter through direct deposit
  5. Applicants will be required to provide reports on impact, including of the status of the business and number of employees

It is recommended that applicants edit their email inbox settings to monitor for messages from and to avoid the potential that some messages might get flagged for spam or junk.



Below is the information you will need to complete the application:

  • North American Industry Classification System Code (NAICS Code)
  • Business' revenues/cash receipts and expenses from April 1 - November 30, 2020. Applicants are able to provide preliminary results for November expenses.

Below is the documentation in electronic form you will need to complete the application:

  • 2019 business federal tax return
  • Copy of quarterly wage report submitted to New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions
  • Bank information including a copy of a cancelled or voided check
  • Copy of New Mexico Driver's License or Government-Issued Identification for the "Authorized Officer" and all new Mexico resident-owners that make up at least 51% of the business ownership



  • Due to the severe economic hardship the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the hospitality and leisure sector, tourism businesses have been identified as a priority for this program. The $100 million allocated to this program will be distributed based on the following proportions:

    • 20% - Accommodations
    • 20% - Food Services and Drinking Businesses
    • 15% - All Other Leisure Businesses
    • 3% - Destination Marketing Organizations
    • 2% - Non-Employer Businesses

    The legislation that appropriated the funds for this program also requires specific allocations for rural and urban populations:

    • 60% of funds are available to all businesses located within 10 miles of a city with a population of 50,000+
    • 40% of funds are available for businesses in rural areas

    So what does this look like?

    Geographic Dispersion Urban Total Rural Total TOTAL
    Hospitality $12,000,000 $8,000,000 $20,000,000
    Restaurants $12,000,000 $8,000,000 $20,000,000
    Destination Marketing Organizations $1,800,000 $1,200,000 $3,000,000
    Other Leisure & Hospitality Businesses $9,000,000 $6,000,000 $15,000,000
    All other Employer-based Businesses $24,000,000 $16,000,000 $40,000,000
    Non-Employer Businesses $1,200,000 $800,000 $2,000,000
      $60,000,000 $40,000,000 $100,000,000


  • These grants are NOT distributed in a first-come, first-serve basis. Instead, applications will be funded in three (3) rounds, providing business owners with the time to complete the best application for submission. The funds will be allocated on the following schedule:

    • Round 1: all applications submitted by 12:00 pm on Dec. 10 - $40,000,000
    • Round 2: all applications submitted by 12:00 pm on Dec. 15, along with those unawarded applications from Round 1 - $35,000,000
    • Round 3: all applications submitted by noon on Dec. 18, along with those unawarded applications from Rounds 1 and 2: $25,000,000 + any allocated funds that were not used in the previous rounds

    Applicants will only need to apply once. If an application is not funded in the round in which it is submitted, the application will roll into the next round and will be considered again.


  • Businesses will be awarded grant amounts based upon the number of individuals they employ. The grant amounts are fixed amounts that are based on quarterly wage reports submitted to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. Businesses that do not pay unemployment taxes (non-employer businesses) and those that do not submit a copy of the quarterly wage report will be eligible for a grant of $2,000.

    Number of Employees Grant Amount
    0 $2,000
    1-5 $10,000
    6-15 $15,000
    16-25 $25,000
    26-40 $30,000
    41-60 $40,000
    61-75 $45,000
    76-100 $50,000


  • Business owners and contractors NOT qualify as employees.

    Both full-time and part-time employees are considered for the purposes of this grant.

    How do I demonstrate proof of the number of employees for my business? Acceptable documents to demonstrate proof of the number of employees includes:

    • IRS Form 941
    • Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) Employer Report on Wages, form ES903


  • The New Mexico Finance Authority will rely on the NAICS code of your business to determine whether a business will be classified as a hospitality and leisure business. The follow NAICS codes will be used to determine businesses that qualify for priority support for the hospitality and leisure industry:

    • Accommodation businesses - 721
    • Food service and drinking businesses - 722
    • Arts, entertainment & recreation ("all other leisure business") - 71

    For more information on the NAICS code classification structure, click here. If you have further questions on how your business should be identified for the purpose of this program, the New Mexico Finance Authority is available to answer questions through their CARES line at (505) 992-9696 or by email at 

    PLEASE NOTE: Businesses and nonprofits that fall outside the NAICS codes listed above can still qualify for this program - $40,000,000 is allocated for "all other employer-based businesses" outside the priority hospitality and leisure sector.


  • For the purpose of this program, a Destination Marketing Organization is an eligible business that promotes to individuals and organizations outside New Mexico to travel to particular destinations or events within New Mexico. This includes:

    • tourism nonprofits
    • convention center operators
    • festival operators
    • chambers of commerce
    • economic development organizations that receive funding from Lodgers' Tax

    For the purpose of this program, grants will be awarded based upon the total Lodgers' Tax collected by the communities served by the DMO. County and municipal governments that operate as the destination marketing organization for the community do NOT qualify for this allocation based on the definition of DMO for this grant.

    Lodgers' Tax Grant Amount
    <$50,000 $10,000
    <$150,000 $25,000
    <$750,000 $35,000
    >$750,000 $50,000

    Priority will be given to DMOs that serve counties deemed "at risk" by the New Mexico Tourism Department. "At risk" counties are those where 20% or more of the employment is supported by direct visitor spending. Those counties are:

    • Guadalupe
    • Colfax
    • Quay
    • Hidalgo
    • Taos
    • Lincoln
    • Catron
    • Otero


  • Applicants will be able to use pre-COVID employment levels for the purpose of determining the grant amount. Applicants are able to submit any quarterly wage report from March 31, 2019, to date. Because employment fluctuates throughout the year for many tourism businesses, employers are encouraged to use a pre-COVID quarterly employment report that best demonstrates peak employment for their business.

  • NO. If your business has previously received CARES Act funding either directly from the federal government or through your local county or municipality, your business may still apply for support through this program.


  • Before you begin your application, you should make sure your web browser is up-to-date. Some users may run into problems with pages or information loading correctly if their web browser is not up-to-date. This helpful guide can provide assistance with checking to see if your web browser is up-to-date.

    The New Mexico Finance Authority also recommends that users should use Chrome or Firefox as a preferred web browser when completing the application to avoid potential problems.

    The online application tool does NOT allow for applications to be saved and revisited at a later point. In order to avoid the possibility that work may be lost, those interested in completing an application should make sure they have all of the necessary information and electronic forms prepared before beginning an application.

  • If you have further questions about the Small Business CARES Relief Grant program, you can reach out to the New Mexico Finance Authority through these channels:

    CARES Relief hotline: (505) 992-9696

    Toll Free: (877) ASK-NMFA




    Tourism business counselors through the Small Business Development Center are also available to provide guidance and recommendations to business owners that need assistance with the application process. These business counselors are available Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.

    Northern New Mexico - (505) 300-2781

    Southern New Mexico - (575) 800-0345



New Mexico Finance Authority logo 

This program is administered by the New Mexico Finance Authority.

When you are ready to apply, visit