Erie County launches grant program to help small business rebound from COVID-19

Help is now available for small business owners who have taken an economic hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small Business Shopping on Black Friday in Buffalo

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Small Business Shopping on Black Friday in Buffalo

The Erie County Business Task Force and others were on hand Tuesday to announce details about the Erie County ‘Back to Business’ grant program. The money is available thanks to $20 million in CARES Act funding and business must have 50 or fewer employees to be eligible. 


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Priority will be given to those who have not yet gotten any COVID-related assistance, minority and women owned businesses, those in highly-distressed zip codes, those seeking to hire back laid off or furloughed workers and those businesses that have yet to reopen.

“We have all seen the devastating effects of the COVID-19 shutdown on our local economy. Minority-owned businesses in Highly Distressed areas have been especially hard-hit, and the parameters of this grant program were designed to place those businesses at the front of the line,” said Ere County Business Task Force Co-Chair Brenda McDuffie said. “I encourage all small businesses to review this grant program and if they qualify, apply for the funds, even if you previously received other aid or were turned down for PPP loans.”

In addition to having 50 employees or less, a business must also demonstrate a loss of gross revenue or a reduced level of production or sales due to the pandemic and have no more than $7.5 million in gross total sales for 2019. Ninety-percent of those workers must live in Erie County and the business must have been open for at least a year from the program’s launch.

Eligible applicants to the Back to Business Grant Program will receive:

  • $10,000 in funding for businesses with a sole proprietor
  • $25,000 in funding for businesses with 2-25 employees
  • $45,000 in funding for businesses with 26-50 employees

Grants can be used for a variety of past and future expenses, but funds must be spent by December 30, 2020. Businesses are encouraged to apply soon as possible before the funding runs out.

The application deadline is Monday, November 2, 2020. 

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