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$20 million more set aside for small businesses

Gov. Ralph Northam allocated an additional $20 million this week in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to the Rebuild VA economic recovery fund to meet demand for the program and fulfill pending grant applications.

This new funding will bring the program total to $120 million and will enable more than 300 small business and nonprofit organizations that applied before the last round of funding was exhausted in early December to receive grants. Eligible applicants that are still in the pipeline have been notified via email that their applications have been re-opened.

Earlier this month, Gov. Northam announced that Rebuild VA had fully committed the $100 million in federal funds previously allocated to the program, which provided grants to 2,500 small businesses and nonprofits whose normal operations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 45 percent of the available funding was awarded to nearly 1,000 small businesses and nonprofits located in low-income and economically disadvantaged communities and about $50 million was awarded to women, minority and veteran-owned businesses. To date, Rebuild VA has received nearly 20,000 applications and the average grant award was $35,636.

“Small businesses and nonprofits are among those hit hardest by the pandemic, and many are bracing for an uncertain few months ahead as the virus surges and we await the widespread availability of the vaccines,”  Northam said. “Virginia’s small business community remains diligent in protecting the health and safety of their employees and customers, and we must continue to support them in every way we can. With Congress finally acting on a long-overdue relief package, I am also grateful that Virginia businesses will now have another opportunity to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program in the near future.”

Administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), Rebuild VA launched in August with $70 million in CARES Act funding. Gov. Northam directed an additional $30 million to the program in October and SBSD expanded eligibility so that businesses with less than $10 million in gross revenue or fewer than 250 employees could apply. 

“Getting these dollars to more small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by COVID-19 is a top priority for our administration,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said. “The large number of applicants still in the pipeline for Rebuild VA funding demonstrates the tremendous need for this and additional financial support.”