Pa. to launch small-business grant support program for ‘mom and pop shops’

The program will aim to serve historically disadvantaged businesses.

  • Laura Benshoff/WHYY

(Philadelphia) — Businesses that have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for grants from the state starting June 30.

The grants will range from $5,000 to $50,000 and come from a $225 million fund provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Applications will be evaluated based on need, not by the order in which they are received.

The program is intended to boost businesses that may have lost out on earlier rounds of federal pandemic support. Earlier loan programs, such as the Payroll Protection Program, were first-come, first-served, and often relied on a preexisting relationship with a bank. As a result, many smaller businesses or those owned by entrepreneurs of color reported being locked out of government support.

“We know that most of the federal dollars did not reach our hair salons, our bakeries,” said Dan Betancourt, president and CEO of Community First Fund, a community development financial institution (CDFI)  with outposts across central and Eastern Pennsylvania.

The program will aim to serve historically disadvantaged businesses, and grants will be awarded through connections to CDFIs, lenders more likely to have relationships in lower-income areas.

“This is a grant program and not a loan program, and I will keep on saying that,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes. The grants will go to  “the mom and pop shops.”

The grant applications open at 9 a.m. on June 30 at pabusinessgrants.com.


WHYY is the leading public media station serving the Philadelphia region, including Delaware, South Jersey and Pennsylvania. This story originally appeared on WHYY.org.

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