Harrisburg, PA (STL.News) Governor Tom Wolf today announced that an additional $96 million in state grants have been approved for 5,373 Pennsylvania small businesses that were impacted by the business closure order due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Businesses in every county were approved for grants in this round of funding, and 52 percent are historically disadvantaged businesses.
To date, more than 10,000 businesses were approved for $192 million in grants through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been caused a lot of hardship for our business community, and it has been particularly difficult for Pennsylvania’s small businesses to weather the economic effects of this crisis. Pennsylvania’s small business owners are community-focused employers, and they drive our economy, so they deserve our support as we continue to navigate this public health crisis,” Gov. Wolf said. “As we seek to recover, and rebuild our economy following the downturn caused by this pandemic, it’s critical that we provide opportunities for these businesses to recover and rebound, and this funding will provide much-needed support for businesses in communities across the state.”
The governor announced this funding at the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg and was joined by public officials and the owners of two local businesses: D.McGee Design Studio, located in the market, which was approved for a $10,000 grant, and Gifted Hands Barber Studio, located on 3rd Street near the market, which was approved for a $5,000 grant.
The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance funding was developed in partnership with state lawmakers and allocated through the state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, of which $225 million was earmarked for relief for small businesses.
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) distributed the funds to the Pennsylvania Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which are administering the grants.
“We’ve seen the impact of this pandemic-fueled economic crisis on the small businesses in our communities. We targeted these funds to reach the smallest and most vulnerable businesses across the state and as CDFIs, we were able to mobilize our networks to reach those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic,” said James Burnett, vice chair of the PA CDFI Network and executive director of the West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution. “The PA CDFI Network is grateful for the partnership of Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Legislature as we move quickly to get these resources into the hands of those most impacted by the crisis.”
“I am extremely proud we were able to work together and to get much needed grants to the small businesses across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that serve as the backbone to our economy,” said state Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery). “With that said, this should not be the end of the push to help our small business community. There are still CARES dollars available and thousands of businesses that have applied for this program seeking relief and the General Assembly must prioritize focusing on those needs and getting our people through this pandemic.”