Even as federal Covid-19 relief programs end, like the Paycheck Protection Program, it’s likely your business may still need financial help. Last month, a survey by Yahoo Small Business reported half of the country’s smallest businesses continue to struggle due to the pandemic. The survey showed that just 38% of microbusinesses (those with fewer than five employees) received government funding during the pandemic, while 85% relied on community assistance to keep their doors open.
That said, if your company still needs financial help, you may consider looking closer to home. State and local small-business relief programs are open to qualifying businesses and still have funds available. For example, The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law in early March, allocates $350 billion to states, localities, territories, and tribal governments to help eligible residents. Just over half of that money is going straight to states.
The advocacy group, National League of Cities, reports that funds for local state governments will remain available through the end of 2026 but may only offset costs incurred by December 31, 2024.
Different States, Different Rules
It’s important to remember that every state and local program is different. Each has different eligibility requirements, awards, and revenue-loss parameters to consider. Some programs require businesses to show specific revenue-loss thresholds, including proof of having to close their business.
In New York, grants are awarded based on annual gross receipts for 2019, with a maximum of $50,000. Connecticut supplies one-time grants of $5,000 to businesses with fewer than 20 employees or a 2019 payroll of less than $1.5 million. Some states provide both grant and low-interest loan programs.
While many of these programs have funds available, many don’t have an application deadline. Unfortunately, that means they can end at any time. But, often, they will accept applications until funds are completely depleted – so act fast!
What To Do Next
It’s recommended that you contact your local chamber or local economic development center. These institutions usually track the deployment of funds and provide useful information for any business seeking to apply. Finally, before contacting a local department and deciding to apply for assistance, have your financial documents in order. This would include annual or quarterly profit-and-loss statements and tax documents. Having all your documentation will make the process faster, easier and typically give you preference.