grants

The application window begins Aug. 10 for the second round of applications for the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program.

The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program, which offers small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic will have the opportunity to apply for grants of up to $50,000, will open its second application window on Aug. 10.

The initial window for the program opened June 30 and closed on July 14.

For this round, applications will be accepted starting at 9 a.m. on Aug. 10. They must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Aug. 28. This will be the final opportunity to apply for the program.

“We highly encourage our local businesses to apply for these grants,” said Bette Slayton, president and CEO of the Bedford County Industrial Development Association. “This is the final round. If folks haven’t applied yet, now is the time to do so. We have listed tips for applying on our website, www.bcda.org.

“We’ve seen a number of new COVID-related loan programs become available, but it’s always much nicer to access a grant than a loan.”

Unlike some programs, this is not first-come, first served. Those who applied during the first application window be notified of their status by Aug. 10. Those who applied for the first round of grants do not need to reapply in the second round. Qualified applications will be automatically rolled over into this next funding round for consideration.

The Pennsylvania CDFI Network, a coalition of 17 development associations, will be the portals for the application process. Locally, applications will be handled through The Progress Fund.

The program is open to businesses that are physically located in Pennsylvania and generate 51% of their revenues in the state. The must have had annual revenue of $1 million or less before the pandemic, and have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees as of Feb. 15.

Grants will be awarded based on annual revenue, starting from $5,000 for those with revenue up to $50,000, to $50,000 for those from $850,000 to $1 million.

According to information from The Progress Fund, priority will be given to businesses operated by low- and moderate-income people or located in areas with low-income populations, high unemployment rates and significant population loss, or businesses located in areas most impacted by the shutdown.

At least 50% of the grants will be awarded to “historically disadvantaged” businesses, that is, businesses with at least 51% minority ownership.

Additional consideration will be given to businesses owned by women, those that participate in state government programs like Main Street, or those in rural communities.

Businesses not physically based in Pennsylvania are not eligible, nor or those that are in active default with taxes or fees owed to the state.

Nonprofits, churches or other religious institutions are not eligible.

Financial institutions are excluded, as are real estate and property development businesses, life insurance companies, private clubs or businesses that restrict membership, government entities and those engaged in physical or lobbying activities.

The grants can be used for payroll costs or continuing group health insurance during paid sick, medical or family leave, or insurance premiums or for mortgage interest payments or interest on other debt incurred before Feb. 15.

Grants may be used for rent or utility payments, or for working capital for covering reopening costs, as long as those costs were incurred due to the business closure. Money also may be used for specialized equipment or training to ensure compliance with CDC regulations, on any COVID-19 expenses not already paid for through other relief measures.

Before applying, eligible businesses are encouraged to prepare needed documentation, including a photo ID or passport, revenue from March 1 to May 31 for 2019 and 2020; the most recent federal tax returns, both personal and business; and internal profit & loss statement for startups between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15. Also needed are articles of incorporation, fictitious name registration/DBI information, business license if applicable, and bank account information for direct deposit.

Additional application information is available at www.theprogressfund.org or by calling 724-216-9160; for the Reinvestment Fund, contact smallbizgrants@reinvestment.com or call 215-574-5939.

Pennsylvania small businesses are encouraged to apply for relief if they:

• Had 25 or fewer full-time employees prior to February 15, 2020

• Have annual revenues of $1 million or less, and

• Were economically impacted by COVID-19

All applications must be made through a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in the county where their business is located.

Contact Paul Rowan at prowan@bedfordgazette.com, 623-1151, ext. 140.

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