by Carl Hessler, Jr.
September 4, 2020
NORRISTOWN — More than 900 Montgomery County small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were awarded economic development grants under the third round of the MontcoStrong Small Business Grant Program, officials said this week.
A total of 960 grants, totaling $9,993,000, were awarded in the third round of the program that kicked off in April, county Commissioner Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr. revealed during a news briefing.
The grants ranged between $9,000 and $22,500.
Lawrence said 516 of the awardees identified as a minority- or women-owned business and 45 awardees identified as veteran-owned businesses.
Round three grant awards were administered by the Redevelopment Authority of Montgomery County in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Commerce.
“Grant awardees have been contacted via email by the Redevelopment Authority of Montgomery County with grant contracting instructions,” Lawrence said.
A complete list of all the awardees can be found at www.montcopa.org/MontcoStrongSBGP
“As always, we’d like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the Redevelopment Authority of Montgomery County’s board of directors for their continued support, partnership and collaboration on this program with our Department of Commerce,” Lawrence said.
During the third round, the county commissioners earmarked $10 million from federal CARES Act dollars that came to the county to be used specifically for COVID-19 relief. The federal CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families and small businesses.
During the first two rounds of the program conducted earlier this year, the county awarded a total of $6 million to 480 small businesses. Businesses that received funding in the first two rounds were not eligible for grants in round three, Lawrence explained.
The county received 1,924 applications from businesses in 60 of the county’s 62 municipalities for round three funding.
Lawrence said 51 percent of the applicants indicated they were a minority- or women-owned business and four percent of the applicants indicated they were a veteran-owned business. Eighty-one percent of the applicants reported gross annual revenues of less than $1 million, Lawrence said.
For round three of the program, grants were offered with updated parameters from the first two rounds to reflect the lessons learned, the changing economic conditions, needs, and resources as well as the availability of state and federal relief programs, officials said.
Officials said round three grant eligibility was expanded to include a higher cap on employees and sectors not included in round two.
Specifically, program guidelines for round three required eligible applicants to be a for-profit business with a physical location in the county that was in operation on or before March 23 and to have experienced disruption due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The applicants also had to have reported gross revenues not greater than $15,000,000 on their last signed and filed federal tax return and employed and paid no more than 50 full and part-time employees as of July 1.