LEWISUBRG — Even the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus shutdown could qualify for a state grant.
Steve Stumbris, Small Business Development Center Bucknell University (SBDC) said the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance Program will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. He added that applications would be accepted starting today.
Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 may apply, meaning they need to have no more than $1 million in revenue and fewer than 25 full-time employees.
“There are two main categories they are looking to support,” Stumbris said. “Your Main Street and Elm Street programs, and that is referring to two different specific Pennsylvania programs.”
Main Street programs were largely focused toward small downtowns, Stumbris said, while Elm Street programs were more neighborhood-related.
The other focus of the program is that at least half of the new grants will go to businesses owned by historically disadvantaged owners. Stumbris said that included businesses which were at least 51% owned and operated by African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American and Pacific islanders.
Stumbris noted the application would be different than the first round of federal programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), where applicants were advised to apply early.
“There is going to be a window of 10 days in which this is open,” Stumbris said. “They are going to receive all the applications that come in during that period of time, then go through a prioritization process.”
Grants will be awarded based on priority, Stumbris said, meaning the state will review them. A network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) was tasked with making the decisions. The Department of Community and Economic Development played a role in providing funds as well as the application and review process.
Stumbris noted a “wrinkle” for Union County applicants in that its designated CDFI was Philadelphia-based. Applications will be taken only online at the following sites.
• Montour and Northumberland counties, Impact Loan Fund (www.impactservices.org)
• Juniata and Snyder counties, ASSETS (www.assetspa.org/contact)
• Perry County, Community First Fund (www.communityfirstfund.org/contacts)
• Union County, United Bank (www.ubphila.com/contact-us.asp)
All counties may apply to Reinvestment Fund (www.reinvestment.com/contact). Visit www.pabusinessgrants.com for program information.