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New Pennsylvania loan program will provide up to $60 million to small-business owners

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Loans up to $100,000 to for-profit businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees are being made available to small businesses affected by the coronavirus, Gov. Tom Wolf announced today.

Funding is being provided through $40 million that is being made available to the Small Business First Fund for the new COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program. The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority authorized making $60 million available to support the loans.

Funds are expected to become available this week.

“CWCA is a step in the right direction, and it’s going to help provide a little peace of mind to hundred of small business owners and their employees, but I’m not going to pretend that it’s enough to cover the devastation that COVID-19 is bringing to our commonwealth, so I will continue to develop ways to assist Pennsylvania’s business community as well as our workforce," Gov. Tom Wolf said.

For purposes of this program, a retail or service enterprise is defined as a for-profit business entity that is involved in the business-to-business service, business-to-public service, mercantile, commercial, or point of sale retail sectors.

An agricultural producer is defined as a business involved in the management and use of a normal agricultural operation for the production of a farm commodity. A “farm commodity” is any Pennsylvania-grown agricultural, horticultural, aquacultural, vegetable, fruit, and floricultural product of the soil, livestock and meats, wools, hides, furs, poultry, eggs, dairy products, nuts, mushrooms, honey products and forest products. 

Any eligible working capital cost, as defined above, incurred by the eligible business enterprise three months prior to submission of the loan application will count as an eligible cost toward either the loan amount or, if applicable, the matching investment requirement.

Retail/service enterprises are able to incur eligible working capital costs up to six months prior to submission of the loan application.

“There’s been major disruption to small businesses and their employees,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “This is a bipartisan down payment to get some working capital out quickly. Much more help is needed and we’ll keep working on that.”

Loan terms are three years with a 12-year amortization. In addition, no payments will be due and payable during the first year; principal and any interest payments will be due monthly for years two and three; and a balloon payment will be due and payable at the end of the third year. The interest rate for the program is 0 percent except for agricultural producers in which case the interest rate is 2 percent fixed for the life of the loan.

All loan applications must be submitted through a Certified Economic Development Organization. For the list of CEDO’s operating within Pennsylvania, refer to dced.pa.gov/programs/covid-19-working-capital-access-program-cwca/.

Businesses seeking guidance from DCED can also contact its customer service resource account at ra-dcedcs@pa.gov.