Congressman Higgins & County Executive Poloncarz Announce $1.3 Million in Federal Investments Made in Local Small Businesses Through Erie County’s Micro Enterprises Loan/Grant Program
Funding Awarded through the CARES Act Was Provided to Businesses with Five Employees or Fewer; Stack Burger in Lackawanna was One of 65 Small Businesses to Receive Assistance; Limited Funding Still Available
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz visited Stack Burger in Lackawanna, New York to highlight efforts to boost small businesses in Erie County through the Microenterprise Loan/Grant Program. The initiative provides small businesses with five employees or fewer with loan/grant funding of up to $35,000 thanks to resources made available through the federal CARES Act.
“For the smallest of small businesses the grueling work of customer acquisition and day-to-day operations limits the time and resources available to make long-term investments that can help owner-operated businesses get ahead,” said Congressman Higgins. “Thanks to this federal investment and initiative led by Erie County, entrepreneurs have an extra boost to help increase inventory, purchase equipment, or improve technology.”
“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,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Small businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and Erie County, the ECIDA and the Business Task Force are teaming up to offer assistance where possible. We all succeed when small business succeeds, and this program is available to microenterprises seeking ways to grow in Erie County.”
The Erie County Community Development Consortium (“the Consortium”), received $4,326,655 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds in 2020 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Consortium used the funding to assist neighborhood food pantries, invest in parks and playgrounds, make improvements to senior and community centers, and provide this relief to small businesses.
The Microenterprise Loan/Grant Program for small businesses, an effort led by the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning (ECDEP) in conjunction with the Erie County Business Task Force, is a 50/50 loan/grant program that can be for as little as $5,000 or up to $35,000 with the loan administration portion handled by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA). Recipients have a six-month grace period before beginning repayment. Since December of 2020, 65 small businesses have been assisted with micro-loans and grants for a total of $1,318,706.
There is still $450,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds available for this program. Businesses located within the Erie County CDBG Consortium, which includes 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; and West Seneca, and the villages of Akron, Angola, Depew, East Aurora, Farnham, Gowanda, Lancaster, North Collins, Orchard Park, and Springville are eligible to apply.
The Erie County Community Development Consortium is comprised of 34 municipalities that receive formula-based federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Grant, and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) programs to assist low-income residents. Municipalities within Erie County with a population over 50,000, including the Towns of Amherst, Tonawanda, Cheektowaga, Hamburg, and the City of Buffalo, receive HUD funding directly.
For more information on the Erie County Microenterprise Loan/Grant Program,https://www3.erie.gov/economicdevelopment/sites/www3.erie.gov.economicdevelopment/files/2022-06/microenterprise_loan_flyer_6.15.2022.pdf