Many people are already familiar with federal financing programs available in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs).

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has also created a new program designed to provide grants (not loans) to small businesses within the Keystone State.

Under the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance Program, $225 million has been earmarked for grants to Pennsylvania small businesses economically impacted by COVID-19. Applications will be accepted starting on August 10, 2020, and may be submitted through August 28, 2020.  While grants will not be issued on a first come, first served basis, it is anticipated that the time period set forth above will be the last opportunity to apply.

How to Qualify

To qualify, a business must demonstrate that it has been adversely economically impacted by COVID-19, and meet the following requirements:

  1. Business is physically located and generate at least 51% of its revenue in Pennsylvania;
  2. Business must have been operational as of February 15, 2020;
  3. $1 million or less in gross annual revenue; and
  4. 25 or fewer full-time employees.

Grants range in size from $5,000.00 to $50,000.00 based on the business’s revenue, and must be used for “COVID-19 related costs.”  According to the Department of Community and Economic Development, at least 50% of the grants will be awarded to “historically disadvantaged businesses.”  For purposes of this program, a “historically disadvantaged businesses” is a for-profit business located and operating in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that experienced loses as a result of the Governor’s March 19, 2020 order relating to the closure of all businesses that are not life sustaining, has or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19 and meets the requirements listed above.  To qualify as a “”historically disadvantaged business”, businesses must be at least 51% owned and operated by one of several minority groups.

How to Apply

To start the process, a business must apply through an eligible Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).  In Allegheny County, there are four (4) CDFIs to which applications can be submitted starting 9:00 AM on August 10, 2020:

  1. Bridgeway Capital – apply here
  2. Northside Community Development Fund – apply here
  3. The Progress Fund – apply here
  4. Reinvestment Fund – apply here

For a complete listing of CDFIs organized available in each county, please click here.

For more information about these programs or if you would like to discuss other potential programs available to your business, please contact Brian Golias, Roger Poorman, or your primary Metz Lewis contact.

This post was written by Roger Poorman and Brian Golias

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