In line with Governor Josh Shapiro’s commitment to supporting small diverse businesses across the Commonwealth, the state is pleased to announce the opening of the application window for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Although a different funding source than Reading’s small business grants, eligible businesses in Reading are encouraged to apply for a share of the $10.5 million available to historically disadvantaged businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Mayor Eddie Morán expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative, stating, “This is a significant opportunity for our local businesses to access crucial funding that can drive their recovery and growth. The City of Reading is fully supportive of Governor Shapiro’s dedication to breaking down barriers and fostering a business-friendly environment. We encourage all eligible small diverse businesses in Reading to seize this opportunity and submit their applications to the Commonwealth for consideration.”
The ARPA funding, managed by the Pennsylvania Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Network, will provide grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. To be eligible, businesses must have been in operation on or before March 17, 2020, and meet the criteria of being historically disadvantaged – minority businesses with annual revenues of $1 million or less and employing fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees.
Priority will be given to businesses located in low-income census tracts, municipalities with crime rates higher than the state average, and municipalities with crime rates 125 percent above the state average per capita. Though the Morán Administration remains committed to addressing these ongoing challenges, the City of Reading currently falls under these three priority categories, which makes our small business community eligible for this funding in addition to the monies the City has already dedicated for them.
The ARPA grant funds can be utilized for various purposes, including working capital, inventory, equipment, safety and security equipment, marketing, and operational costs. Additionally, an extra $8.5 million in ARPA funding will be allocated for technical assistance and business development through CDFIs and partner organizations.
To support potential applicants and for complete information, the City of Reading advises visiting the PA CDFI Network’s page.