Got a small business that’s taken a big hit from the pandemic? You might be eligible for a state grant ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

Pennsylvania small businesses can apply for the grants starting on June 30, to cover expenses, losses and costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and statewide business shutdowns.

A total of $225 million in grants is available, administered by the state, using federal stimulus money. The size of the grants is related to the size of the business.

To apply, companies must have less than $1 million in revenue prior to COVID-19. They must be physically located and certified to do business in Pennsylvania and generate at least 51% of their revenues here. They must also have 25 or fewer full-time employees. Religious organizations and nonprofits are not eligible.

The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program is designed to help businesses unable to access the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Unlike that program — which for many companies initiated a rushed scramble to apply before the money ran out — this is not a first come, first served program. There will be multiple rounds of application windows starting June 30. Additional rounds will be announced soon.

The program will prioritize businesses owned by low and moderate-income people, and/or located in areas with incomes lower than the median income level and high levels of poverty and unemployment. It will also prioritize the types of businesses most impacted by the pandemic, which can include retail, food, hospitality, health and wellness and personal care (beauty and nail salons, spas, barbershops).

Of the $225 million, $100 million will go to historically disadvantaged businesses that are at least 51% owned by persons who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American or Pacific Islanders. Main Street Business Revitalization programs will receive $100 million. Twenty-five million will go to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) for loan deferrals and reserve funds for their current clients dealing with COVID-19-related troubles.

Companies can apply online through 17 CDFIs across the state. These are nonprofits that work with small businesses that have trouble raising money through banks and other lenders. Pittsburgh-based CDFIs involved include Bridgeway Capital, The Progress Fund, and the Northside Community Development Fund, which have application details on their websites.

“We will conduct outreach to ensure small businesses and disadvantaged businesses have access to the grant application platform,” says Katherine Chamberlain of Bridgeway Capital. “Bridgeway Capital, along with the participating CDFIs, will provide technical assistance to business owners during application preparation and online submission.

“Right now, small business owners can start to prepare the information needed to apply and sign up to receive a notification when the application opens. The application is expected to open on Tuesday, June 30th.”

The deadline to apply for the first round is  July 14.

Michael Machosky

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife,...