As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2023, your small business is likely to have suffered significant revenue losses. Businesses, families, award authorities and communities in the United States can apply for various grant programs. These grant resources and financing options are available to small businesses in Pennsylvania to grow, expand, remain competitive, and gain access to capital.
Approximately $27.36 billion of Pennsylvania's government grants come from federal resources, and $21.80 billion comes from the state. There is no restriction on what type of business can receive funding in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is home to 232,755 businesses and 63,000 farms.
When companies qualify for grants, they can use the award money to fund marketing campaigns, hire more staff, and fill cash flow gaps. A total of $209.78 billion is spent annually on payroll and salaries in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, there are approximately 38,816 bankruptcy petitions filed every year. Business startups and expansions are not eligible for grants. Instead of applying to government agencies for grants, startups and expanding businesses can apply to private grant awarding bodies.
What Is a Grant?
Businesses and organizations often receive funding to expand, develop or implement their ideas. In contrast to loans backed by the government and are needed to be repaid, grants don't have to be repaid. Grants provide businesses with interest-free financing instead of loans that require repayment. The reason why grant programs are so popular among business owners is that they provide many benefits.
Even though grants are low-cost options, the application and administration process can be challenging. It is only possible to get funding if you demonstrate that your small business has a high chance of success. Grant funding can be provided by government agencies, charities, foundations, and local governments.
Pennsylvania Small Grants
The following are a few grants available to Pennsylvania residents.
A statewide public health crisis caused by COVID-19 has affected every Pennsylvanian in every community.
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the state budget recently enacted includes $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds.
As part of this allocation, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) plans to distribute $225 million to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) for small businesses needing COVID-19 assistance.
Small businesses that COVID-19 has economically impacted will be eligible entities for grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 through the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program. The program does not operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Final applications will be accepted during the second application window to get funds to businesses in need as quickly as possible.
DCED will distribute the funding to the Pennsylvania CDFI Network, which will administer it as follows:
- For the duration of the shutdown and the transition period to reopening, operating expenses will be covered through grants.
- Business owners receive grants to help stabilize and relaunch their businesses with technical assistance, including training and guidance.
- Borrowers of CDFIs in Pennsylvania get relief from debt payments.
- Reserves for CDFIs if they suffer loan losses
There will be three ways in which the funds will be distributed:
- Main Street Business Revitalization Program: $100 million
- Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program: $100 million
- Loan payment deferment and loss reserve: $25 million
Moreover, the program will pay special attention to women-owned businesses, communities targeted for business investment by state government programs like Main Street and Elm Street, and rural areas.
Small businesses with historically disadvantaged status will receive at least half of the grants. Because traditionally discriminated against and disadvantaged when seeking financial services and financial products, historically disadvantaged businesses are at least 51% owned and operated by Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, or Pacific Islanders.
Eligible applicants must apply through an eligible CDFI and meet the requirements of the program, which, at a minimum, include:
- At least 51% of their revenues must come from Pennsylvania, be physically located, and be certified to do business there.
- Before the impact of COVID-19, have less than $1 million in annual revenue.
- Before February 15, 2020, have less than 25 full-time equivalent employees.
- As reported on individual or business tax returns, the business operated on February 15, 2020, and paid income taxes as required to the state and federal governments.
- This grant request is necessary to support the potential applicant's ongoing operations due to COVID-19.
- The grant will cover COVID-19-related expenses.
- A grant under this state program has not been awarded to the applicant since June 1, 2020, and will not be awarded in the future.
Grants for women entrepreneurs can be found on Google by searching for grants for women entrepreneurs. There is no shortage of scams on online government websites for business women and small companies. To obtain your financial and personal information, various forms and applications must be completed.
The Women'sNet business network provides funding opportunities for new business ventures and helps women kickstart their business dreams. It is best to complete the process as soon as possible to fast-track your funding decisions, even though it may take more than adequate time and effort. Low-income entrepreneurs can find a lot of information here to help them grow their small, emerging businesses. Women looking for business grants can benefit from the Amber Grants program.
Women-owned and operated businesses are encouraged to apply for grants by the federal government (including Pennsylvania). The Amber Grant application process is now open for those interested in applying. You will be one of 12 monthly recipients if selected to receive a grant. A $25,000 grant will be automatically awarded if you meet their details on eligibility requirements when you win one of their 12 monthly grants. Over a year, one grant recipient could receive $35,000 in grants.
Pennsylvania's Small Business Advantage Grant program offers funding to help companies improve their energy efficiency. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees are eligible for the program. Through these improvements, companies must save at least $500 and 25 percent in energy consumption or pollution prevention annually. To be considered for a grant, applications must be submitted promptly.
This grant will provide $2,500,000 to businesses in the clean energy industry to support their workforce's stages of development and create jobs. There is no doubt that the state believes that the industry represents a tremendous opportunity for jobs, innovation, and environmental improvements in the state. Several organizations will be awarded up to $500,000 through this program to help them support growth and training programs within the industry.
In 1992, the AFIG Program was established to promote energy security and new markets for alternative fuels. This grant program is available to businesses and organizations planning projects that involve alternative fuels, alternative fuel vehicles, and technologies associated with these industries. The funding period for 2021 has expired and there have been no new funding rounds for 2021. In spring 2022, another round of future funding will likely open up.
Businesses promoting student workforce development opportunities will receive $2,500,000 in additional funding commitments from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. There must be at least one school in the commonwealth that offers apprenticeships or similar opportunities. The application deadline for this round of funding is March 15.
Small businesses can apply for grants from several government organizations for research and development (R&D). With SBIR and STTR funding programs, small businesses can conduct innovative research and transfer technology. Small businesses benefit from these programs by encouraging technological innovation and assisting them in commercializing their products. Small businesses are offered a variety of federal programs that assist them in developing their technology capabilities and launching their products.
There are two phases to a federal grant award: Phase I and II.
- Phase I: It costs about $150,000 for early-stage companies to conduct proof of concept/feasibility studies on new technology.
- Phase II: During the STTR Phase II, the direct costs of $1,500,000 to $3,500,000 can be used to develop commercially viable prototypes for testing with customers during Phase I.
Business Pennsylvania offers businesses nondilutive funding through these highly competitive funding opportunities. Companies seeking to achieve that goal can apply for matching and support grants.
Application Support Grants
Business Pennsylvania offers grants to assist businesses in preparing competitive SBIR/STTR Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications. There are two types of grants in this category: Phase 00 grants and Phase 0 grants. About $10 million in federal grants have been awarded to businesses through Business Pennsylvania, and approximately $280,000 has been awarded to businesses through Business Pennsylvania.
There are several purposes for which applicants can apply for grants of up to $5,000:
- The fees associated with preparing SBIR/STTR Phase I applications (for example, authors, review process, reviewers, and technical writers).
- SBIR/STTR Phase I applicants may have to pay additional fees (for example, legal and accounting services).
- The preparation of SBIR/STTR Phase I grant applications (such as market research, technical database research, and statistical analyses) will incur out-of-pocket expenses. SBIR/STTR Phase I grant applications will incur out-of-pocket expenses (such as market research, technical database research, and statistical analyses).
Despite the benefits of SBIR/STTR government funding, it is insufficient to support early-stage companies. In addition to filling gaps in federal grants, Business Pennsylvania provides matching grants to assist businesses in expanding their projects and developing their technologies. Grants will be awarded based on matching funds provided by matching grants each year. During Phase I, the federal government can match grants with $50,000; during Phase II, it can match grants with $100,000.
FedEx's Small Business Grant Contest is open to small business owners nationwide every year. Several businesses receive grants from FedEx annually, including the grand prize winner, runner-up, and second runner-up. Twelve small businesses received grants from FedEx in 2021. In addition to the grand prize, FedEx Office business and print services were worth $7,500.
You must submit a nine-second video explaining why your business deserves a FedEx Small Business Grant and a brief business profile to be eligible to enter. Businesses must be for-profit, have fewer than 99 employees, and have been in operation for at least six months to be eligible.
Small businesses in rural areas can apply for a Rural Relief Small Business Grant, one of LISC-Lowe's programs supporting rural America.
Who is eligible?
Small businesses in rural areas are the only type of business eligible for this program. It is considered a rural community when its population is less than 50,000. Community addresses come in three varieties: city addresses, town addresses, and village addresses. Your business address should be where your vehicle is stored during off-hours (food trucks, fishing boats, ride-sharing drivers, etc.).
Pennsylvania GrantWatch offers several grants tailored to the needs of small businesses. The website offers business loans, grants, and loans from the state, local, and federal governments. A free grant search tool is available through GrantWatch. The site can help locate grant writers if you need help writing winning grant proposals. You will be asked several simple questions as part of the grant application process.
Subscriptions to Pennsylvania GrantWatch provide subscribers access to information, help with application preparation and application instructions. A subscription of $18 per week or $199 per year is also available. Members can't apply for grants as part of the free program.
Expand your understanding of funding landscapes beyond Pennsylvania. Dive into our latest blog post on "Grants For Georgia Small Businesses" to explore additional avenues of financial support. Your pathway to growth may resonate with the success stories from Georgia!
No matter the type of business or your purpose, the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (PASBDC) has an availability of funds. Small businesses affected by Coronavirus receive financial assistance from government and private organizations. Small businesses can benefit the economy in a variety of ways through small business financing. Your limited liability company can use these sources of funding if it needs them.
While you're researching grants for Pennsylvania small businesses, it's beneficial to understand the broader landscape of opportunities available in 2023. Take a moment to explore our blog post detailing the grants available for Arkansas small businesses this year. Comparing options across states could give your business a competitive advantage.
Interested in comparing the grant opportunities across states? Discover what Alabama has to offer to the small business community. Journey through our latest post on small business grants in Alabama to uncover potential financial resources that could catalyze your business growth, similar or different from those in Pennsylvania. Your next grant opportunity might just be a state line away!
Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations' blog section today!