Riverside County Office of Economic Development

Thrive Program

Part of a Riverside County
Small Business Program

The OCIE SBDC Network is partnering with the County of Riverside Office of Economic Development to provide eligible small businesses the opportunity to apply for a grant award.
All existing businesses and new businesses that have started on or after July 1, 2022 are eligible to apply for the Small Business Thrive Grant.
To be eligible to apply, businesses can apply for an OCIE SBDC startup training program. After completion of the multi-week program and all requirements, business owners will qualify for the opportunity to receive a grant of up to $5,000.

About the Thrive Program

In an effort to assist entrepreneurs in launching a business and support businesses that are continuing to struggle with the negative economic impacts of the pandemic, the Riverside County Office of Economic Development and the Orange County Inland Empire Small Business Development (OCIE SBDC) are partnering to provide technical and financial assistance to county constituents and businesses.

The RivCo Small Business Thrive Program (Thrive Program) is an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Economic Recovery program providing grants of $1,500, $2,500 and $5,000 to assist county entrepreneurs launch a small business and business owners expand their existing operations. The grant is available to qualifying individuals and businesses that meet all eligibility criteria and complete a small business training program have one-on-one consulting provided by the Orange County Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (OCIE SBDC) and attend a Financial Literacy webinar provided by AmPac Business Capital. 

Important Note:

The OCIE SBDC will provide the required training programs and consulting support to businesses as they proceed through the application process only. The OCIE SBDC Network will not make grant award decisions.

Grant Eligibility

  • Business must be located in the County of Riverside
  • Business registration must have occurred on or after July 1, 2022, for startup businesses.
  • Must complete a County of Riverside-approved OCIE SBDC training program
  • Must attend one-on-one consulting with an OCIE SBDC Consultant
  • For Start Up’s must receive appropriate licenses and permits to start the business in the County of Riverside
  • Complete RivCo Small Business Thrive Program Approved business plan
  • For Start Up’s, must have a “qualifying event” that starts the business:
    • Must be formally registered to do business in Riverside County
    • Businesses can start the program without being registered but must be able to show proof of registration prior to being referred to AmPac for financial literacy training and grant.
    • Business registration must have occurred on or after July 1, 2022.
    • Entities must also demonstrate they are “in business” by having completed one of the following “Qualifying” events:
      • Has made their first sale
      • Has hired at least one employee, or
      • Has created a business banking relationship, or
      • Has spent money on business expenses (this includes legal and accounting fees) 
  • For existing businesses; must be a business with 5 FTE employees or less and $1 million or less in annual receipts.
  • For existing businesses; must be in compliance with all federal, state and local laws, ordinances, regulations and licensing requirements.
  • Must attend a “Financial Literacy” webinar through AmPac (After completing the training program and has begun one-on-one consulting)
  • Receive and complete Grant application (will receive link from OCIE SBDC, when all above items completed)
  • Must agree to complete required surveys
  • Must not be a current or former (within the last 18 months) staff or immediate family of an OCIE SBDC Network staff or consultant
  • Must not have received a grant from the California Dream Fund or another similar program – only one grant per entity and person is allowed.
  • Businesses must certify under penalty of perjury that they will use funds according to eligible uses.
  • Startup costs
  • Purchase equipment
  • Investment in working capital
  • Operating expenses
  • Rent, lease or payment for building
  • Utilities
  • Supplies, materials and services
  • Application for, or renewal of, a local permit or licensing
  • Payment of business debt


  • Existing For-Profit businesses or entrepreneurs starting a new For-Profit business
  • Business located in Riverside County
  • Businesses that are not located in the County of Riverside
  • Businesses that have received the California Dream Fund Grant Program
  • Businesses that do not attend training, technical assistance and financial literacy programs
  • Non-Profit or public entities
  • Residential or real estate projects including short-term rental operators
  • A passive business, investment company or investor who files a Schedule E on its tax returns
  • A speculative business, meaning a business for the sole purpose of purchasing and holding an item until the market price increases or other business principally engaged in risky activity for the chance of an unusually large profit
  • A business engaged in any activity that is illegal under federal, state or local law;
  • Casinos/gambling establishments
  • Adult-entertainment related businesses

Important Note:

  • Grants are subject to fund availability, and while there is a discrete amount set aside for Riverside County entrepreneurs, the funds are finite and may be allocated before everyone that enrolls completes the required steps. Enrollment does not guarantee access to funds.
  • Additional screening steps may exist to verify identity (but not citizenship) to prevent fraud and abuse.
  • Individual grant funding amounts are predetermined and not subject to decision or revision by the OCIE SBDC SBDC Network or its partners.
  • Additional terms and conditions apply.

Application Steps

The OCIE SBDC will develop and manage the online portal for application submission. The online portal will support submission electronically in English, but a sample application will be developed in Spanish for viewing purposes only.  A complete application will include the following:

  1. Completion of Specialized Business Training Program and Basics of Business
  2. One-on-one consulting verification
  3. A completed participant application
    • Demographic data and requirement questions along with certification by business under penalty of perjury that they will use funds according to eligible uses.
  4. Appropriate state or local business license
  5. Proof of Residency in Riverside County
    • Water Bill, Electric Bill, etc…
  6. Personal Identification
    • State Issued ID or Other standard Form of Identification
  7. Grant Agreement
    • Complete and Signed Grant Agreement
  8. W-9 for County’s Fiscal Agent processing


During the application process, all applicants will have the ability to access a SBDC consultant to assist them with their application.  Once a Thrive Program participant completes training and has received one-on-one consultation, they will be referred to County’s Fiscal Agent for final requirements and grant award.       

All application responses will be securely stored by the OCIE SBDC in an electronic repository for all program documents, and available for Office of Economic Development staff to view at any time. Documentation is intended to meet Grant Program requirements and validate applicant’s responses to mitigate risk and fraud, and verify adverse impacts caused directly by the pandemic.  The OCIE SBDC will also verify business location and supervisorial district via Esri Web Map produced by County Office of Economic Development’s Center for Demographics.

Starting your business is just a program away


The OCIE SBDC is here to prepare you for successfully launching your business. Our suite of programs offer you the ability to choose an industry-specific program or general business program based on the type of business you are trying to start or grow. SBDC programs include topics on business planning, finance, marketing, sales, human resources, licenses and permits, and more. In less than 12-weeks, we will take you from an idea to an actual sale at one of our proof of concept platforms such as our e-commerce platform californiashopsmall.com, selling in a local marketplace, or taking your packaged goods to retail. All programs are between 8-12 sessions in length and are led by our SBDC consultants and experts and are offered at no cost for Riverside County new and existing businesses.

Ready to get started? Find the right cohort to make your new or existing business Thrive:

Veteran Entrepreneur Business Start

This program is specifically focused on military veterans that are looking to start their first business and will cover business planning, finance, market analysis, digital marketing, social media, licenses, permits, and more. 

Main Street Digital

Main Street Digital is a six-part series designed to expand your knowledge with hands-on instruction that will position you to increase your digital marketing presence.

more programs

Note: Not all programs listed on the OCIE SBDC events listing qualify for the Thrive Program.


Ready to take the first step in starting and growing?

Don’t qualify for the grant? The OCIE SBDC can still help your business. Schedule a 1-on-1 consulting session with one of our business consultants or take a look at our calendar of workshops and trainings covering a wide array of business topics.