UPDATE: Financing Options Available for Lehigh Valley Businesses Affected by COVID-19
By Nicole Radzievich Mertz on March 24, 2020
State and federal agencies are providing financing assistance to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation efforts.
On March 25, The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) opened the application process for working capital loans up to $100,000 to help small businesses through the COVID-19 emergency.
Many companies will be applying for loans and the process is expected to be competitive, so the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) urges any Lehigh Valley companies interested in applying for these loans to do so as quickly as possible.
UPDATE: As of 6 p.m. on March 31, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development no longer is accepting applications for the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA). The applications received as of that time surpassed the funding available to the program.
PIDA’s Small Business First Fund will provide $61 million to help businesses through the emergency. Under PIDA’s COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA), for-profit small businesses with 100 or fewer employees worldwide could be eligible for working capital loans up to $100,000.
A detailed list of items required and forms that must be filled out as part of the application can be found on lehighvalley.org/covid19-pida, along with other details about the program.
LVEDC has also added information to its financing page about assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and mitigation efforts. This includes PIDA and other programs, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The SBA on March 20 extended its approval of disaster loan assistance to all Pennsylvania counties. The assistance provides up to $2 million loans to pay for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid by the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. The loans can be repaid over terms up to 30 years.
Staff at the Lehigh University Small Business Development Center is trained to help clients with questions and the SBA application process.
“We are encouraged and grateful to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and PIDA for working quickly to create a new program with a flexible set of terms that will get help out to the business community,” said Jaime Whalen, Vice President of Administration and Investor Relations and Chief of Staff at the Lehigh Valley Economic and Development Corporation (LVEDC).
LVEDC provides staffing to the Lehigh Valley Economic Investment Corporation, the region’s certified economic development organization through which all applications for the PIDA program must be submitted.
LVEDC is also directing small businesses to start a conversation with their existing banks with financial assistance.
The FDIC issued a statement to encourage banks to work with effected customers such as but not limited to: “airlines; energy companies; travel, tourism, and shipping industries; and small businesses and independent contractors that are reliant on affected industries.”
In addition to the loan programs, there are other programs being rolled out to provide some relief. Pennsylvania and the Internal Revenue Service have extended the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15.
Also, employees unable to work because of COVID-19 may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers Compensation Benefits. See more here.
Gov. Tom Wolf on March 19 ordered all “non-life-sustaining businesses” to close their physical locations in response to the pandemic. Pennsylvania had 644 cases as of March 23 and reported six deaths, including two in according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
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