According to a recent survey conducted by the Business Council of Westchester’s (BCW) Economic Recovery Task Force, COVID-19 has made tremendous impacts across a breadth of businesses in Westchester County. The good news is that businesses are expecting a slow but steady recovery, especially with the introduction of new grant programs from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and the Westchester County Office of Economic Development.
The BCW reports that across all sectors of businesses surveyed, “Forty-four percent of businesses predicted that they would remain open but would continue to struggle over the next three months, with 17 percent saying they would thrive and 25 percent saying they would break even. Only 1 percent anticipated closing.”
In an effort to aid in the recovery efforts, the Westchester County IDA and Office of Economic Development have created two new grant programs specifically for small businesses.
The IDA has launched financial assistance through State Disaster and Emergency Loans and Grant Program for small businesses and not-for-profits. Grants are available of up to $10,000 for the purchase and installation of equipment to protect customers and employees while conducting business. Loans of up to $25,000, exempt from New York State Tax, are being offered as well. Both options require small businesses and not-for profits to prove they were financially viable prior to March 7, 2020.
The Westchester County Office of Economic Development is also releasing a $10 million grant program to support eligible small businesses and nonprofits. The funds are available through the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act and will be awarded through the Westchester County Business FIRST (Financial Investments for Recovery and a Sustainable Tomorrow) program in amounts up to $49,000 for qualified businesses.
Dr. Marsha Gordan, President & CEO of the BCW, emphasizes the importance of fueling and recovering businesses across Westchester. She remarks the programs are designed to analyze “which sectors have been hardest hit, so that these resources can be deployed most effectively.”
As many businesses and nonprofits that could benefit from these opportunities will be reached as soon as possible, Gordan says. “This is a ray of hope for those organizations struggling to stay alive.”