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Erie County microenterprise loan/grant program aids small businesses


Wed, Apr 7th 2021 07:05 pm

Maximum assistance available to small business owners is $35,000; funding available to businesses with five employees or fewer

April is National County Government Month, spotlighting how county government helps residents

The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, in conjunction with the Erie County Business Task Force, continues to boost small business in Erie County with the microenterprise loan/grant program, providing microenterprises with five employees or fewer up to $35,000 in a loan/grant to build their business.

The Erie County Community Development Consortium, comprised of 34 local municipalities of various sizes, received $4,326,655 in Community Development Block Grant funds in 2020 from the federal CARES Act to be used in part to assist small businesses through this program.

“The microenterprise loan/grant program is another way that we are working to help small businesses in Erie County, giving them a small amount of Community Development Block Grant funding that can be used for anything the business needs, including working capital, start-up funds or equipment. In this way, small business start-ups can gain a foothold in the local market and start to grow,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “Small businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and Erie County, the ECIDA and the business task force are teaming up and offering assistance where possible. April is National County Government Month and this program is a great example of how county government serves residents.”

The microenterprise loan/grant program, formerly a full 2% loan program for small businesses, is now a 50/50 loan vs. grant program that can be for as little as $5,000 or up to $35,000 with the loan administration portion handled by the ECIDA. Over $1.2 million in Community Development Block Grant funding through the federal CARES Act is available to small businesses through this fund. Loan/grant recipients have a six-month grace period before beginning repayment.

Businesses eligible for this funding include the cities of Lackawanna and Tonawanda; the towns of Alden, Aurora, Boston, Brant, Clarence, Colden, Collins, Concord, Eden, Elma, Evans, Grand Island, Holland, Lancaster, Marilla, Newstead, North Collins, Orchard Park, Sardinia, Wales; West Seneca; and the villages of Akron, Angola, Depew, East Aurora, Farnham, Gowanda, Lancaster, North Collins, Orchard Park and Springville. These municipalities are located within the Erie County CDBG consortium.

The consortium is comprised of 34 municipalities that receive HUD funding through CDBG, HOME and ESG grants to assist low-income residents. Grant allocations are awarded to Erie County because the population of the 34 municipalities in the consortium is over 200,000.

Funding for these community development grants is directly distributed by HUD to municipalities in Erie County with a population of more than 50,000. In Erie County, the towns of Amherst, Tonawanda, Cheektowaga and Hamburg, and the City of Buffalo, receive these community development grants directly from HUD.

Erie County is one of more than 3,000 counties nationwide joining the National Association of Counties all month long to spotlight and celebrate the role county governments play in the lives of residents. This year’s theme, “Counties Matter,” provides an opportunity to educate residents on programs, responsibilities and services, especially as they relate to the pandemic.

For more information on the microenterprise loan/grant program, click here.

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