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LVEDC Continues Connecting Lehigh Valley Companies with Emergency Financing

By Colin McEvoy on April 7, 2020

The application period for a statewide COVID-19 loan program has ended, but the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) continues to work with small businesses affected by the coronavirus to help connect them with resources and emergency financing.

“It is imperative right now for businesses that are closed or have lost customers to find working capital to help create a financial bridge until they can operate again,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham. “The most critical work today in economic development is to help retain what we have.”

Based upon criteria established by the state, LVEDC submitted 26 loan applications for Lehigh Valley companies through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA). Those applications total $2.3 million in loan financing for Lehigh and Northampton county businesses.

The applications were formally submitted through the Lehigh Valley Economic Investment Corporation (LVEIC), for which LVEDC provides administrative services. LVEIC is the Certified Economic Development Organization (CEDO) for Lehigh and Northampton counties, and CWCA loan applications had to be submitted through a CEDO.

After the CWCA program’s application window closed on March 31, LVEDC focused on connecting companies with information about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a new federal program that authorizes up to $349 billion in loans to small businesses to keep workers on the payroll and cover other business costs.

State Loan Applications

LVEDC assisted nearly 150 companies at various stages of the application process through the CWCA program. The state received $75.6 million in loan requests from across Pennsylvania before the CWCA application window closed.

“We reassigned the majority of our staff to work around the clock assisting with these applications because we understood how important emergency financial assistance will be to the Lehigh Valley business community,” said Jaime Whalen, LVEDC Vice President of Administration and Investor Relations and Chief of Staff. “We did everything possible to accommodate the large number of requests we received.”

The application process was very competitive, with multiple businesses from across Pennsylvania submitting applications to the state. The state received 890 applications in total from across Pennsylvania, an average of about 13 per county, which is consistent with the number LVEDC submitted on behalf of small businesses in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

PPP Funding Now Available

The PPP was created as part of the $2 trillion federal stimulus bill that President Donald Trump signed into law on March 27. Starting April 3, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenditures.

All businesses with 500 or fewer companies can apply, and businesses in certain industries can have more than 500 employees if they meet applicable SBA employee-based size standards for those industries.

The loan amounts will be forgiven as long as employee and compensation levels are maintained; the loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over an 8-week period after the loan is made.

Visit this information sheet for such information as how to apply, eligibility requirements, how loan proceeds can be used, and more. LVEDC urges Lehigh Valley companies to apply quickly because the program has a funding cap and lenders need time to process the loans.

A business can apply for these loans through any existing SBA lender that meets certain approvals. More about PPP can be found on websites by the SBA and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Additional COVID-19 Resources

LVEDC continues to monitor the economic impact on Lehigh Valley from the spread of COVID-19, and is constantly updating its financing resources page with important information and financing options for companies impacted by the pandemic and mitigation efforts.

Additionally, LVEDC has established lehighvalley.org/covid19, a standalone webpage with resources and information for Lehigh Valley companies, which we are continually updating with new information as conditions continue to develop.

Other financing options available to Lehigh Valley companies include the SBA’s disaster loan assistance, which is providing up to $2 million loans for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid due to the disaster’s impact.

To apply for disaster loan assistance, visit this SBA website. The Lehigh Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can assist with the application process. Visit here to contact them or for more information.

The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and BB&T, now Truist, offered a $150,000 grant pool for Lehigh Valley businesses and nonprofits seeking relief as a result of COVID-19. The application period for that program has concluded, but they hope to secure additional funding in the future.

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