$96 mil. given to PA small businesses, still time to apply for grants

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – $96 million in grant money was given to small Pennsylvania businesses Monday. The program is part of $225 million dollars in statewide COVID-19 relief, and there’s still time to apply.

About 5,000 small businesses in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties are benefiting from the first round of this money, thanks to a statewide fund using federal stimulus money.

“More than 2,500 of those 5,000 are going to historically disadvantaged businesses, who have traditionally experienced discrimination when it comes to financial services and more than 2/3 of the awardees will go to women-owned businesses,” said Dan Betancourt, President and CEO of Community First Fund and Chair of the PA CDFI Network.

“With the grant, I’m able to get PPE. I’m able to get cleaning supplies. Also, I have school-age children so I’ll be able to purchase some laptops for when virtual classes start,” said Ebone Clement, owner of Phonemic Awareness Early Education Center.

The average grant is $20,000.

“For small business owners, enduring the pandemic is probably the single greatest challenge they’ll face as a business owner,” said Dennis Davin, DCED Secretary.

The application process for the final round of grants started Monday and runs through August 28th at 11:59 p.m. You can apply here.

All this, as the President signed an executive order over the weekend that restores unemployment benefits to millions, but cuts the weekly checks to $400.

“Of course it would help me. I’m not going to lie about that, but if it doesn’t come about I’m not going to be angry about it,” said Tom De Martini.

The President’s order also requests that states share a quarter of the cost, but it’s unclear whether Trump has the authority, since the constitution gives Congress that power.

Governor Wolf’s office said it’s waiting for federal guidance to understand the full impact of Trump’s order. We haven’t heard back from the state Department of Labor and Industry about how the unemployment system would handle it.

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