HARRISBURG, March 18, 2020 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that $61 million in low-interest loans will be available to Pennsylvania small businesses to deal with the effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $61 million will fund working capital loans of up to $100,000 for small businesses that employ fewer than 100 employees through the Small Business First Fund. The interest rate is currently 3 percent; however, the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) board has the authority to adjust the interest rates lower. $40 million of the available funding was moved from the Commonwealth Financing Authority through an agreement between the General Assembly and Governor Tom Wolf.

“There have been devastating impacts across the spectrum as our Commonwealth and our country deal with the COVID-19 global pandemic. Our small business community has been among the hardest hit by the closure of non-essential businesses and the CDC recommendations to avoid public places and gatherings,” Blake said. “Both the state and the federal governments need to ensure that our small business community has adequate and available resources to weather this unprecedented global pandemic. This funding is available to all small businesses – including our neighborhood restaurants and bars.”

Blake noted that the Small Business First Fund has the structure along with the needed regional infrastructure to help small businesses immediately.  As these loans have a maximum amount of $100,000, they can all be approved by the staff and thus, if all requirements are met, and a complete application is submitted, each loan can be turned around rather quickly without Board approval.   

Small businesses can begin applying for funding next week at www.dced.pa.gov.

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