Statewide, Pa. – August 10, 2020 – The Pennsylvania CDFI Network and the PA State Senator Democrats today announced $96 million in grant awards under the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program. The small businesses that have been approved for awards span all 67 Pennsylvania counties.

“These grants and the relief they will provide are testament to what we can do when we prioritize the right initiatives,” said Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery). “It is because of collaboration and a collective focus that today we were able to deliver help to the auto body shops, the barbershops, the beauticians, the pizza shop owners, the soul food establishments and other businesses across the commonwealth. And though we are gathering today virtually to recognize the positive impact these grants will have, it is critical to understand that there is still a great deal of need and must continue to direct resources and aid to our small business community to help it recover from the devastation of the pandemic.”

Main Street Business Assistance - Round 1 ResultsThe program is part of $225 million in statewide relief championed by the senate democratic caucus in June to support small businesses economically impacted by the pandemic. The first application round drew a strong response with nearly 24,000 applications.

“We’ve seen the impact of this pandemic-fueled economic crisis on the small businesses in our communities and in the immense response to the program in the first round of applications,” said Daniel Betancourt, President & CEO of Community First Fund and Chair of the PA CDFI Network. “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.”

Of the close to 5,000 small businesses approved in the first round of funding, 50% are historically disadvantaged businesses that have traditionally experienced discrimination when seeking financial services and financial products. Over 2,400 of the businesses are also in communities targeted for business investment by state government programs like Main Street and Elm Street.

“I could not be more proud or more grateful for the great work of DCED and Pennsylvania’s CDFI Network in delivering substantive, fair, equitable, need-based assistance to our state’s main street and historically disadvantaged small businesses.  Our program design and the accountability it provides to taxpayers and to our federal funders is a model for the nation,” Senator Blake (D-Lackawanna) said. “I appeal to the US Congress and to our colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Harrisburg to recognize the success of this program in assisting small businesses devastated by the pandemic and to invest further in the program so we can help even more of them.”

The program has targeted getting grants to small businesses with the greatest need and to be eligible to apply businesses had to have less than $1M in revenue and less than 25 employees. Grants ranged in size from $5,000 to $50,000 based on the revenue size of the business.   More than 2,300 of the grantee business owners are low-moderate income.

“Our business community has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is in need of immediate assistance. The grant program is targeted to help small businesses manage costs, handle expenses, and stay in operation in this exceptionally difficult time,” said Senator Brewster (D-Allegheny). “Since COVID struck our state and debilitated our business community, I have been advocating for bridge grants and sought millions in aid for impacted businesses and workers.  The small business assistance grants are one of the tools we can use to bolster business, maintain jobs and help workers at a time of immense distress.”

More than two thirds of the approved awardees are women-owned businesses and 16 percent located in rural communities. The businesses represent industries that have been especially hard hit by the pandemic including retail, food and hospitality, health and wellness, and personal care.

Industry Applications Approved Amount  (Millions)
Restaurants & Other Eating Places 1,608

$25.80

Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) 202

$4.63

Personal Care Services 1,001

$24.52

Other Amusement and Rec. Industries 180

$3.46

Totals 2,991

$58.41

“For minority and women-owned businesses in Pennsylvania COVID-19 didn’t create a crisis, it laid bare the crisis our minority entrepreneurs have been facing for decades,” House Democratic Finance Committee Chairman Jake Wheatley Jr (D-Allegheny) said. “While I’m glad to see the positive impact of these grants and I urge all local community businesses to apply for the next round of grants, we need to expand investment in programs like this because it’s long past time for the legislature to address the systemic flaws that are leaving too many marginalized people behind.”

The second grant application window for the relief funds opened today, August 10, and will remain open for 15 business days closing at 11:59PM on August 28.

“Our small business owners need our help and support,” said state Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester. “After limited or even no sales due to the virus for almost five months, it would be unfair to let them suffer alone without any intervention. These grants give our small businesses hope and, I am here with my democratic colleagues to provide them whatever help they need to address this pandemic. Our business owners, their employees, and their families deserve our assistance.”

In order to get funds to businesses in need as quickly as possible, the second application window will be the final opportunity to apply for the program. Qualified applicants not awarded in the first round do not need to reapply and will be rolled into the next round for consideration.

Eligible small businesses can apply online at pabusinessgrants.com or through any one of the 17 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that are part of the Pennsylvania CDFI Network.

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 About the PA CDFI Network

The PA CDFI Network is a coalition of 17 PA-based community development financial institutions that primarily provide financing options for small businesses. The members of the coalition are as follows:

The Progress Fund (Counties Served: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Somerset, Tioga, Venango, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland)

Bridgeway Capital (Counties Served: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Washington, Westmoreland)

Northside Community Development Fund (Counties Served: Allegheny, Beaver, Greene, Lawrence, Washington)

 Metro Action (Counties Served: Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming)

Rising Tide Community Loan Fund  (Counties Served: Bradford, Bucks, Carbon, Columbia, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton)

ASSETS (Counties Served: Berks, Juniata, Lancaster, Mifflin, Snyder, York)

Community First Fund (Counties Served: Adams, Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, York)

Reinvestment Fund (Counties Served: All Counties)

PIDC Community Capital (Counties Served: Philadelphia)

Impact Loan Fund (Counties Served: Montgomery, Montour, Northumberland, Philadelphia)

Beech Capital (Counties Served: Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery, Philadelphia, York)

West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution (Counties Served: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia)

Enterprise Center Capital (Counties Served: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia)

Neighborhood Progress Fund (Counties Served: Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia)

Entrepreneur Works (Counties Served: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia)

Women’s Opportunities Resource Center (Counties Served: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wyoming)

United Bank (Counties Served: Blair, Bucks, Cambria, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Union)

The members of the Executive Committee of the network are:

  • Daniel Betancourt, Community First Fund — Chair
  • James Burnett, West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution — Vice Chair
  • Lynne Cutler, Women’s Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) — Vice Chair
  • Leslie Benoliel, Entrepreneur Works — Treasurer
  • Mark Masterson, Northside Community Development Fund — Secretary
  • Chris Hudock, Rising Tide Loan Fund — Assistant Treasurer