WEST CHESTER (August 10, 2020) – Two-hundred and thirteen small businesses in Chester County were awarded grant funding under the first of two rounds of the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program, state Senator Andy Dinniman announced today.

The second and final round is now open and businesses can apply online at pabusinessgrants.com.

That funding comes as part of $96 million in grants awarded 4,933 small businesses across the Commonwealth under the program designed to support small businesses economically impacted by the pandemic. The average statewide grant size was about $20,000.

The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance funding was developed in partnership with state lawmakers and allocated through the state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, of which $225 million was earmarked for relief for small businesses.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they have been some of the hardest hit by this pandemic and the resultant shutdown and economic crisis,” Dinniman said. “This was a joint effort of the entire Chester County delegation, working together to help small and family-owned businesses manage costs, handle expenses, maintain operations and save jobs in the face of unprecedented challenges and difficult times. I want to thank every member of the Chester County state House and Senate delegation for coming together to support our small businesses.”

The program targeted getting grants to small businesses with the greatest need. 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.

The first application round drew a strong response with nearly 24,000 applications.

Of the close to 5,000 small businesses approved in the first round of funding, 50 percent are historically disadvantaged businesses.

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.

Over 2,400 of the businesses are also in communities targeted for business investment by state government programs like Main Street and Elm Street.

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) distributed the funds to the Pennsylvania Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which are administering the grants through three programs: $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program, $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program, and $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program.

The second and final round of the funding program is open starting today through 11:59 PM on Friday, August 28. Eligible applicants not awarded in the first round do not need to reapply and will be rolled into the next round for consideration.

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.