Applications for small business assistance in PA open today


SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Small businesses took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and now there are $225 million in state grants to help them move forward.

The application process for the Pennsylvania Small Business Assistance Program opened today.

Now that all counties in our region are in Governor Tom Wolf’s reopening green phase businesses are starting to see when they will be able to rebound after months of decreased sales and product loss.

“It’s almost like another opening where we’ve got to come in and fill the shelves and get all those things that you kind of take for granted that you’re going to use up before they expire,” said Michael Melcher, owner of the Black Box Cafe.

In hopes to rebound soon, Melcher is applying for the Pennsylvania Small Business Assistance Program.

“This is actually directly benefiting the folks that you would consider to be a small business,” said Melcher.

Grant money is being distributed by the State Department of Community and Economic Development to community development financial institutions or CDFIs. The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce operates a CDFI called “Metro Action.” Applications placed on the site will be sent through a state portal for processing.

“There’s such a huge number of businesses that could qualify. That’s businesses that are 25 employees or less or $1 million in revenue—annual revenue or less,” said Bob Durkin, president & CEO of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.

If approved, business owners will be able to use the money to reopen and cover operating expenses. Durkin encourages businesses in the nine counties the chamber serves to look into the program and apply.

“The biggest challenge has been trying to assist those small businesses in the service industry, boutique retail industry, those that were shut down completely for the entire time period,” said Durkin.

The grant application window runs from now until July 14th. It is not first-come first-served, rather it’s based on a grant review of all applicants.

To learn more or to apply for the Pennsylvania Small Business Assistance Program, Click Here.

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