Among some of the state budget highlights there was a reference to $225 million small business assistance from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act,. Today, Governor Wolf formally announced a $225 million statewide grant program to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will distribute the funds to the 17 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) throughout the state, which will then administer the funding in the form of grants. Eligible businesses will be able to use the grants to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and transition to re-opening, and for technical assistance including training and guidance for business owners as they stabilize and relaunch their businesses. The funds will be available through three programs:
- $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the governor’s March 19, 2020 order relating to the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses and have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19.
- $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the business closure order, have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19, and in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily business operations.
- $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, which will allow the CDFIs the opportunity to offer forbearance and payment relief for existing portfolio businesses that are struggling due to the impact of COVID, as well as shore up the financial position of the CDFIs that are experiencing significant increased defaults in their existing loan portfolios.
The Main Street Business Revitalization and Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization programs will enable small business owners throughout the state to meet their insurance payments, rents, health insurance premiums, local taxes and other expenses that they otherwise could not meet due to lost sales.
The intention of the programs is to make grants available to businesses who were not able to secure funding through federal programs like the Economic Injury Disaster Loan or the Paycheck Protection Program.
The state and CDFI’s intend to share more information later this week on how businesses can apply. Funding will be available until it runs out. YCEA will continue to share updates.