Pa – COVID-19 Small Business Grants to be awarded to Disadvantaged Businesses-Opening in August 2020

Grant money is money you don’t have to pay back and at least 50% of the grants to small businesses will be awarded to Historically Disadvantaged businesses. Historically Disadvantaged businesses are at least 51% owned and operated by persons who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander because they have traditionally been discriminated against and disadvantaged when seeking financial services and financial products.

If you business was impacted by the virus there is hope the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance Program, The application window for the first round of the COVID -19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance Program is closed. The second application window is expected to open in August.

The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. This is not a first-come, first-served program. There will be multiple rounds of application windows.

Community First Fund is one of 17 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that make up the PA CDFI Network and will be administering this $225M program recently announced by Governor Wolf. The application window for the first round of funding opened on June 30th at 9 a.m. and remained open for 10 business days until July 14 at 11:59 p.m. Additional rounds will be announced soon.


To be eligible to apply, a business must:

  • Be physically located, certified to do business, and generate at least 51% of their revenues in Pennsylvania
  • Have annual revenue of $1 million or less prior to the impact of COVID-19; and
  • Have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees prior to February 15, 2020.

At a minimum, the following entities are ineligible for grant funding under this program:

  • Businesses that are not physically based in Pennsylvania
  • Businesses that are in active default (not on a payment plan) with taxes or fees owed to the federal government or Commonwealth
  • Businesses engaged in any activity that is illegal under Federal, state, or local law
  • Businesses owned or controlled by any owner that has ever obtained a direct or guaranteed loan from the State of Pennsylvania or any Federal agency that is currently delinquent or has defaulted within the last seven years and caused a loss to the government.
  • Non-Profits, Churches and other religious institutions
  • Financial businesses primarily engaged in the business of lending, such as banks, finance companies, and factors
  • Passive real estate companies and investors who file a Schedule E on their personal tax returns are not eligible.  Real estate businesses in which the majority (>51%) of their income is rental income are also not eligible
  • Life insurance companies
  • Private clubs and businesses which limit the number of memberships for reasons other than capacity
  • Government-owned entities or elected official offices
  • Businesses primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities
  • Businesses engaged in any illegal activity, socially undesirable or those that may be considered predatory in nature, such as pawnshops, rent to own, check cashing businesses and adult bookstores
  • An owner of 20 percent or more of the equity of the applicant is incarcerated, on probation, on parole; presently subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges are brought in any jurisdiction; or has been convicted of a felony involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application or an application for federal assistance within the last five years or any other felony within the last year


The program will prioritize small business that are:

  • Owned and operated by low and moderate-income people; or
  • located in areas of need including areas with a population having incomes significantly below the median income level, high levels of poverty, higher than average unemployment rates, or significant population loss.
  • Types of business that were most impacted by the economic shutdown and experienced the greatest revenue losses

In addition, the program will give consideration to the following factors: women-owned businesses, communities targeted for business investment by state government programs like Main Street and Elm Street, and rural communities.

In addition, the program will ensure that grant funds are awarded to small business located across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Grant Amounts

The amount of grant funding ranges from $5,000 to $50,000. Businesses are eligible based on their annual revenues as documented in their most recent tax return:

Annual Revenue
Available Per Business
Up to $50,000$5,000
$50,001 – $75,000$10,000
$75,001 – $100,000$15,000
$100,001 -$250,000$20,000
$250,001 -$500,000$25,000
$500,001 – $750,000$35,000
$750,001 – $850,000$40,000
$850,001 – $1,000,000$50,000

Eligible Use of Funds

  • Payroll costs, costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums,
  • Mortgage interest payments (but not mortgage prepayments or principal payments); interest payments on any other debt obligations that were incurred before February 15, 2020.
  • Rent payments, utility payments.
  • Working capital for the purpose of covering the costs of re-opening business operations after being fully or partially closed due to the state-mandated business closure period commencing March 2020, as long as the expense was incurred due to COVID-19.
  • Any expenses (costs) incurred related to the expense of implementing COVID-19, including but not limited to specialized equipment, barriers, PDE’s, and employee training expense to ensure compliance with state and federal CDC guidelines for reopening.
  • Any Covid-19 related expenses not already paid for with other relief measures such as state grants or loans, US SBA Paycheck Protection Loans, local or regional grant and/or loan programs.

How Can I Prepare?

Businesses are encouraged to start gathering the items that will be necessary to apply. At a minimum, the following list of items will be needed to apply. Additional items may be specified later:

  1. Government Issued Photo ID such as a Driver’s License or Passport
  2. Business financial information
    • Revenue from March 1st to May 31st for 2019 and 2020
    • Most recently submitted Federal Tax Return, 2018 or 2019 business or personal tax returns, including Schedule C.
    • If startup between January 1 – February 15, 2020, Internal Profit & Loss Statement
  3. Proof of Business Registration with PA Department of State, as applicable:
    • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations and LLCs); or Fictitious Name Registration/”Doing Business As” (Sole Proprietors); or Business Licences (if applicable).
  4. Bank Account Information

Before you start your application:

1. Read the Application Instructions – also check out the video tutorials below..
2. Use Google Chrome for an optimize application experience
3. DO NOT submit more than one application. Submitting multiple applications will delay processing of your application and will reduce your chance of approval in this round.

Here are additional tools and resources to assist you:

PA COVID-19 relief grant application is available through the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

If you would like to receive email updates about announcing when the next application window is open, sign up at 

If you applied during the first application window, you do not need to reapply during the second application window. Qualified applications will be automatically rolled over into the next funding round for consideration. 

The grant selection process for the first round will take a few weeks after the July 14 closing date. Notice about approvals will occur on a rolling basis starting as early as July 31. All applicants will receive notice of their application status no later than August 10 whether it is approved, declined, or rolled over for future round consideration.