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There’s a new COVID-19 grant program for ‘historically disadvantaged’ businesses in PA

Some storefronts opened, while some remain closed along Kensington Avenue on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Erin Blewett)

Updated: 07/20/2020 4:05 p.m.

Many small-business owners need financial assistance to reopen or stay in business after Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 business closure. In June, local and state officials announced more programs to help underserved communities navigate those challenges.

COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development is distributing a total of $200 million to small-businesses that were financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic through the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program. The program will award grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, and there will be more than one round of applications. 

According to the program’s website, at least 50% of the total $200 million grant program will be awarded to historically disadvantaged businesses and these businesses need to be at least 51% owned and operated by people who are Asian American, Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American or Pacific Islander. 

Eligibility requirements

  • Businesses in operation before February 15, 2020 with 25 or fewer full-time employees
  • An annual revenue of $1 million or less before the pandemic
  • Businesses must be certified to do business, physically located, and generate at least 51% of their revenues in Pennsylvania
  • Businesses must currently be operating or have a plan to reopen once the state allows it
  • Financially impacted by COVID-19, including the statewide business closure

Program priority

  • Primary:
    • Businesses located in rural communities and areas of need, such as areas with incomes below the median income level, high levels of poverty, higher than average unemployment rates, or high population loss 
    • Businesses owned and operated by people with low and moderate-incomes
    • Businesses that were most financially impacted, in terms of revenue losses, by the economic shutdown
    • Historically disadvantaged businesses
    • Specific industry sectors, including adult day care, child care, food, health, hospitality, personal care, retail, and wellness. 
  • Secondary:
    • Business corridors in Philadelphia, which includes commercial corridors in the Kensington-area
    • Businesses operating in communities with certain revitalization programs, such as the Main Street Program
    • Women-owned businesses

The deadline for the first round of applications was 11:59 p.m. on July 14. According to the program’s website, the second round of applications is expected to open in August. If you applied during the first round, you don’t need to apply again. 

The grants aren’t first-come, first-served, which means there’s no benefit in trying to be the earliest one to apply. You can submit an application and learn more about the program here

PA CDFI Network members will help small-businesses apply to the program if needed. The network is made up of 17 community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that regularly provide small-businesses with financing options. However, business owners can also apply online without assistance from the CDFIs. 

Impact Loan Fund, which operates under Impact Services, is a member of the PA CDFI Network. Paul Marcus, director of Impact Loan Fund, said that staff members will be helping businesses submit application documents and informing neighborhood businesses about the program in English and Spanish.

“We’re happy to work with CDFIs across the state in order to support businesses that may not have received other government support and have been impacted by COVID-19,” Marcus said. “Many businesses were unable to secure a [Paycheck Protection Program] loan or other government support and these grants are intended to identify and help those folks to apply and receive a fair share of this funding from the state.”

Here’s a list of PA CDFI Network members in Philadelphia: 

Do you know of another federal, local, or state program providing financial assistance to groups affected by COVID-19 that we should highlight? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or send an email to editors@kensingtonvoice.com.


Editoras: Claire Wolters, Zari Tarazona / Designer: Henry Savage / Translator: N/A

Kensington Voice is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at brokeinphilly.org or follow on Twitter at @BrokeInPhilly.

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