New funding is available to help small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Gov. Tom Wolf rolled out the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program on Wednesday. It is a new program under the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s (PIDA) Small Business First Fund.

The program is to provide loans of $100,000 or less to for-profit businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees.

Funds are expected to become available this week, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development.

Wolf said interested businesses should contact their nearest “certified economic development agency.” In Cambria County, that’s Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI.)

JARI President Linda Thomson said small businesses in Cambria County can contact Michele Clapper, JARI vice president of finance, who has been designated to handle questions about the application process.

“This is the most incredible program the state has ever put out in the quickest timeframe I’ve ever seen,” Thomson said.  “They are really responding to small businesses who need help now, and they are poised to move quickly.

“It will be a huge support to our small businesses.”

Rep. Frank Burns, D-East Taylor Township, promoted the loans Thursday in a statement.

“I know the disruption this virus is causing across our state for the hardworking men and women of Pennsylvania, which is why we cannot afford to wait for the federal stimulus program to start helping them out,” Burns said.

“These zero-interest loans will help small businesses – the true engines of our economy – last until this crisis ends and we can jumpstart our economy.”

For more information on the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program visit https://dced.pa.gov/newsroom/governor-wolf-announces-financial-assistance-available-to-small-businesses/

For assistance with applying, contact Clapper at mclapper@jari.com.

Russ O'Reilly is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @RussellOReilly.

 

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