Expanded eligibility for $800M in Covid-19 small business grants

Courtesy of Finger Lakes Economic Development Center
Starting immediately, businesses with revenues up to $2.5 million can apply for grants, up from the previous threshold of $500,000. Additionally, the limitation for businesses that received Federal Paycheck Protection Program loans has been increased from $100,000 to $250,000. Launched in June, the program initially focused on small and micro-businesses across New York State, which were largely left out of federal business recovery initiatives.

Small businesses with revenues up to $2.5 million and experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $50,000.

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced changes to New York State's $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program that will enable more small businesses to apply for funding. Starting immediately, businesses with revenues up to $2.5 million can apply for grants, up from the previous threshold of $500,000. Additionally, the limitation for businesses that received Federal Paycheck Protection Program loans has been increased from $100,000 to $250,000.  

Launched in June, the program initially focused on small and micro-businesses across New York State, which were largely left out of federal business recovery initiatives. Empire State Development (ESD) and its partners have worked hard to ensure that these businesses have the technical assistance — including guidance during the application process and support to overcome language barriers — they need to be first in line for this program. To date, more than $48 million has been awarded to over 2,380 small and micro-businesses in all ten regions of the state. The modifications announced today ensure additional small businesses can more quickly access funding through the program.  

ESD and Lendistry, the minority-led Community Development Financial Institution that was selected to administer the program, will continue to accept and review applications. All current applicants — those who have not finished their applications, have not uploaded documents, or have incomplete documentation — are encouraged to finalize their applications as soon as possible. Previously ineligible small businesses may start applying today, and those applications will start being processed on Wednesday, September 8. More information, including program guidelines and the grant application, can be found here.  

Grants for a minimum award of $5,000 and a maximum award of $50,000 are calculated based on a New York State business' annual gross receipts for 2019. Reimbursable COVID-19 related expenses must have been incurred between March 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021 and can include payroll costs; commercial rent or mortgage payments for New York State-based property; payment of local property or school taxes; insurance and utility costs; costs of personal protection equipment necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety; costs for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, or other machinery and equipment; and supplies and materials necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols.  

ESD has created and maintains a website, YSBusinessRecovery.ny.gov,  that highlights the various resources available to support small businesses seeking pandemic relief. The website is continuously updated as more details and funding information becomes available.