Details on COVID-19 Relief Small Business Assistance Program now available

Details on COVID-19 Relief Small Business Assistance Program now available

Many new details about the state’s new grant program for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns are now available online.

“We are encouraging outfitters, lodges, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, B&Bs, retailers, makers, craft ag food producers, creative services companies and other small Main Street type businesses in the PA Wilds that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns to apply to this program,” says Ta Enos, PA Wilds Center Founder and CEO. “This is a grant program, not a loan program.”

As announced by Governor Tom Wolf earlier this month, the state’s network of Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, will be distributing more than $225M in grant funds statewide to small businesses impacted by COVID shutdowns through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program.

The program will provide grants ranging from $5000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. It targets businesses with 25 or fewer employees and annual gross revenue of $1M or less.

PA Wilds Center has teamed up with The Progress Fund, the CDFI serving the PA Wilds region, to get COVID grant funds into the important tourism economy of the Pennsylvania Wilds. Tourism is a $1.8B industry makes up 11 percent of the regional economy and has been impacted due to closures and restrictions on travel, as highlighted in the Center’s recent white paper.   

Enos says the COVID-19 Relief grant program, which was developed in partnership with state lawmakers and allocated through the recently enacted state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is evolving quickly.

“Full guidelines are anticipated tomorrow – June 25,” Enos says. “But many new details were released today. The Progress Fund has set up a page on its website where it will be making live updates. We encourage rural entrepreneurs and business owners to check out the Progress Fund’s site, and begin to prepare for the application opening.”

The Progress Fund’s landing page for the program can be found here:

Enos says the first application window is slated to open June 30 and last 10 days. Applications will continue to be accepted but only those submitted by July 14th will be reviewed for the first round of funding. Additional rounds will be announced soon.