Gov. Wolf made a stop in York this afternoon to announce the release of $96 million in funding for the first round of business advantage grants.
The grants are part of the state’s Small Business Assistance Grant Program. The first round of funding is a portion of the $226 million allocated in COVID-19 relief via the Department of Community and Economic Development.
“Most child care facilities in Pennsylvania had to close during the worst of the pandemic,” Wolf said standing in front of Magical Days Learning Center in York. “Most have not recovered their clientele because parents are worried about the safety of their children.”
Gov. Tom Wolf speaks to members of the media outside Magical Days Learning Center in West Manchester Township during a press conference on Small Business Assistance Grant program and COVID relief funding on Monday, August 17. Magical Days received $25,000 in state grant funding through program. In total the state allocated $96 million to nearly 5,000 businesses throughout the commonwealth. (Photo: Neil Strebig, York Daily Record)
The governor addressed media during the press conference and noted that 51 percent of funding for the first round of grants went to historically disadvantaged businesses, mostly minority-owned and operated businesses such as Magical Days Learning Center.
“I truly believe that small businesses like ours are the backbone of our society,” Magical Days co-owner Adrienne Davis said. “Traditionally, small businesses, especially minority- and female-owned establishments, have been overlooked for business capital and funding … we are all in this together and as long as we stick together we will fight through this pandemic and will see a better day.”
Davis co-owns Magical Days with her sister Veronica Bunty. The child care and learning center serves over 100 children ages 12 and under. Magical Days was given a $25,000 grant.
In York County, 25 businesses, including Magical Days, received a total of $385,000 in grant funding.
In total, the DCED gave out $96 million in grant funding to 4,933 businesses throughout all 67 counties in the state. DCED Deputy Secretary Neil Weaver said the average grant amount awarded was $25,000.
Eligibility requirements for Pa. business grant
- Business must be located in Pennsylvania and must generate at least 51 percent of their revenue within the state.
- Annual revenue must $1 million or less pre-COVID.
- Must have 25 or fewer employees before Feb. 15, 2020.
- The business(es) must have been in operation on or before Feb. 15, 2020.
- The grant funding must be used to cover COVID-19 related costs.
- The applicant cannot apply or receive any other state grant funding between the period of June 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
“At DCED, helping small businesses is part of our fundamental mission,” Weaver said. “Pennsylvania’s small businesses are the core of our commonwealth and our economy.”
“It is not just child care that is benefiting from this. When this pandemic is finally over we’re all going to need stores to shop in, we’re all going to need restaurants to go to with our friends. We’re all going to need mechanics, barbers, manufacturers and florists,” Gov. Wolf said. “Whether we’re a small business owner, worker or consumer. All of our lives benefit from a thriving business community.”
The window for the second round of state-funded Small Business Assistance Grants is currently open and will remain open until August 28. The remaining $130 million is expected to be handed out during following the close of second round submissions. The DCED will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.
Eligible businesses must apply via a qualified Community Development Financial Institution. In York County, eligible institutions for business grants are the Reinvestment Fund, Finanta, ASSETS, Beech Capital, Community First Fund.
Interested parties can visit the DCED website for more information on how to apply.
Neil Strebig is a journalist for the York Daily Record and curator for the York on the Move newsletter. He can be reached at [email protected], 717-825-6582 or via Twitter @neilStrebig.
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