$19 million to be distributed to more than 1,300 small businesses in Erie County

Posted at 3:03 PM, Nov 30, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Economic relief is on the way for more than 1,300 small businesses in Erie County.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced the completion of the "Erie County Back to Business Grant Program" Monday. The program was announced in October in coordination with 43North and commits funds from U.S. CARES Act funding to offer financial assistance to eligible small businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Officials say in less than three weeks there were 5,022 applications totaling over $95 million in requests.

“Our goal was to distribute funds to businesses in greatest need, in amounts that will create a meaningful impact. I’m hopeful that this financial relief allows the grant recipients to endure this ongoing crisis,” said Poloncarz. “I’d also like to acknowledge and thank 43North who took on the monumental task of administering this grant program. Their team worked around the clock, lending their expertise and resources to complete this enormous effort and ensure that these funds are swiftly delivered to the neediest among our small business community.”

1,366 grants will be disbursed in seven amounts ranging from $2,500 to $45,000.

Officials say the applicants reflected a wide variety of industries within the small business sector.

"Geographically, 52 percent of recipients reside in “distressed” and “highly distressed” zip codes. When considering Erie County as a whole, 48 percent of the grants will be disbursed to businesses in the City of Buffalo and 52 percent to the surrounding suburbs and rural communities. Additionally, 30 percent of recipients are minority-owned businesses and 60 percent are women-owned businesses," a release states.

Grant determinations were prioritized based on need, according to officials.

"Nearly 40 per cent of grant awardees had received no or negligible amounts of previous COVID relief aid covering less than 10 per cent of their losses, and 33 per cent of awardees lost over half of their annual income," a release states.

All applicants will be informed Monday of the determination of their application via email, checks will be disbursed via certified mail and funds can be applied to eligible expenses by December 30, 2020.