WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Financial aid may be on its way for Westchester small businesses and non-profit organizations that have seen at least a 25-percent revenue decline since March 7 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The county government will award $10 million—up to $49,000 per business or organization—as part of its new grant program: Westchester County Business FIRST (Financial Investments for Recovery and a Sustainable Tomorrow).
Business or organizations of 99 employees or fewer and with a primary location in Westchester have until Sept. 30 to apply (westchestercatalyst.com/business-FIRST-programs).
“We are at a critical point in Westchester County’s history—and such times call for leadership and innovation,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer in press release. “The Westchester County Business FIRST program will provide urgent financial assistance to businesses and nonprofits now, and set the foundation to rebuild our economy as we work toward a sustainable future.”
The program is being administered by the Westchester County Office of Economic Development through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“These organizations help fuel our economy and provide quality jobs in our communities,” said Bridget Gibbons, Westchester County’s director of economic development, in a press release. “This funding is designed to help them recover and get back to business.”
To be eligible, “organizations must be in good standing with Westchester County and are required to demonstrate revenue losses of at least 25 percent from March 7 to present due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The applicant must establish that the organization was a financially viable operation prior to March 7, the date Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 202 declaring a disaster emergency. The organization must have been open as of Feb. 1, currently be in operation, or closed temporarily and plan to reopen for business in 2020.”
Industries ineligible for the grants include units of government; real estate holding companies, businesses or nonprofits that generate revenue through passive real estate; adult entertainment establishments; gas stations; and businesses or nonprofits that have defaulted on federal debt, including loans from the Small Business Administration.
There are more than 32,000 businesses in Westchester County, according to statistics shared in 2018 by Wiley Harrison, president of Business of Your Business, a small business consulting and accounting firm. Of those, only 64 have 500 or more employees while 28,000 have 20 or fewer employees. Of those 28,000 businesses, 75 percent are single-person businesses, according to Harrison’s statistics.
For more information on the application process, visit westchestercatalyst.com/business-FIRST-programs.