State ups small biz grant eligibility

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Sep. 7—PLATTSBURGH — Gov. Kathy Hochul announced expanded eligibility for the state's $800 Million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, and Raechell Conn, economic development program specialist for the North Country Chamber of Commerce, advises businesses apply before Friday.

"One of the qualifications for the program is a 25% loss in gross receipts from 2019 to 2020," Conn said. "If you received unemployment benefits, they are going to, going forward, factor that into the 2020 gross receipts. That's going to raise how much you earned in 2020. So, if you did just barely qualify at the 25% mark, that might push you out of eligibility."

That change will start Friday, Sept. 10.

"So really, if you started the application, now is the time to get on it and get it finished," Conn added. "If you didn't receive unemployment benefits, then it's not going to affect you at all, but you'll want to get on it, because the funding will run out."

SMALL BIZ GRANT

The multi-million-dollar program launched in June focused on the state's small and micro-businesses largely left out of federal recovery initiatives.

As of Sept. 1, more than $48 million was awarded to nearly 2,400 of these businesses in New York's 10 regions.

"Anybody and everybody is taking advantage of it," Conn said. "Businesses in our area and all throughout New York are benefiting."

Empire State Development and Lendistry are administering the funds.

ELIGIBLITY CHANGES

At launch, only businesses earning $500,000 or less in gross receipts qualified.

"So you couldn't be a business entity that earned $2 million in gross receipts, but after expenses took home $20,000," Conn explained. "The gross receipts dictated the cut-off point for applying."

Gov. Hochul's recent change upped the cap on gross receipts to $2.5 million.

"That allows more businesses to apply for the program and qualify for funding to help them get through the economic hardships that they faced," Conn said.

Businesses that earned $100,000 or more between both rounds of the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), another pandemic recovery initiative, were also ineligible.

With Hochul's updates, that threshold grew to $250,000.

"That's giving a lot more wiggle room to bring in more businesses and help more people," Conn said.

CONTACT CHAMBER

Conn, who said businesses could apply online via Lendistry, stands ready to help local businesses looking to cash in on the available funds.

"That's my job," she said, adding that she was available by phone, email or in-person. "I'm happy to have them come in and assist them in applying.

"This is a wonderful product and the governor has announced enhancements that make it easier. The quicker businesses apply and the funds are there, then the quicker we can see if they can get some funding."

Email McKenzie Delisle:

mdelisle@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

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