Small Business Level Up Training & Grant Program

As part of the Tustin Cares program, the City of Tustin has partnered with Orange County/Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to expand SBDC’s online Level Up training program into the Small Business Level Up Training & Grant Program (Level Up Program). The Level Up Program will provide growth opportunities through training and funding to small businesses needing financial assistance in overcoming the loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All eligible businesses are invited to apply. 

Small businesses with a minimum of five (5) employees – including the owner, and a maximum of fifty (50) employees (full and part-time) may be eligible to receive a working capital grant of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) after attending four (4) mandatory two hour each virtual training sessions and one (1) mandatory one-on-one business consulting session. The grant may be used for working capital to cover the day-to-day business operating expenses such as rent/lease payments, mortgage payments, payroll and benefit costs, utility expenses, inventory, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of operations.

Businesses which have previously received alternative sources of funding such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan, State, County of Orange and/or City of Tustin grants are eligible to apply. The program is based on the availability of funds, program guidelines and submission of all required information and supporting documentation.

The City’s Economic Development Department will be responsible for oversight of the Level Up Program and disbursement of funds will take place through the City’s Finance Department. The City's Program Partner, the SBDC, will be responsible for program administration, application processing, training, one-on-one consulting, and for review and approval of financial and business documentation for disbursement approval.  City staff is obligated to fulfill the terms and conditions of the funds as established by the City Council, these program guidelines, and Federal, State, and local rules and regulations.


The Business Grant application is NOW CLOSED. 


The Level Up Training & Grant guidelines are available for review and can be downloaded by clicking here.

program description

The Level Up Program, is a program developed by SBDC to assist small businesses in expanding and driving their business to the next level.  During the four (4) weeks, business owners will work on putting together their path towards progress as they evaluate and develop on their metrics, benchmarks, teams, financials, triggers and strategies to reach the next level of growth. Trainees will learn how to de-risk expansion and get involved in proactive growth and development.

Biggest obstacles in growing your business include:

  • Intelligent Planning
  • Cash
  • People
  • Customers

Categories of growth include:

  • New Revenue Streams
  • Entering New Market Segments/Expanding Customer Base
  • Expanding Team
  • Acquiring New Technology/Equipment
  • Adding Strategic Partners
  • New/Additional Location
  • Mergers and Acquisitions

eligibility & How to Apply

To be eligible to apply for the Level Up Program, a business must meet certain criteria that has been established by the City of Tustin and the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Treasury for utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The business must also demonstrate the need for financial support resulting from the loss of revenue due to the impact of COVID-19.

The Level Up Program guidelines are available for review and can be downloaded by clicking here.  

The business grant application will be available online only at 9:00 am on Monday, August 1, 2022. Applicants may apply for the grant program online by accessing the application portal.



The application period will close promptly at 5:00 pm on August 22, 2022. Applications received online after this due date and time will be considered late and will not be accepted.  


The City of Tustin is expecting the Level Up Program to have an overwhelming number of applications. If the number of applications far exceeds the amount of funding that is available for disbursement, the City will implement a lottery system for all eligible small businesses. Once applications and eligibility have been approved, they will be assigned a number and entered into a lottery. The first 40 potential grant recipients will be contacted by email, phone, and/or letter starting September 1, 2022. If a second Level Up Program is implemented, the next 40 potential grant recipients will be contacted by email, phone, and/or letter in late October 2022. 

Contact Information 

For additional information regarding the Level Up Program, please contact the following:

City of Tustin 
Economic Development Department

300 Centennial Way
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 573- 3117

For questions about the guidelines and application or assistance in completing the application and to set up a one-on-one consultation (at no cost), please contact the SBDC at:

Manal Richa, Director
Small Business Development Center - CSUF
15375 Barranca Parkway, Suite A111
Irvine, CA 92618
(657) 256-3874 office