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Virginia expands criteria for small business loans to help more businesses

Virginia expands criteria for small business loans to help more businesses

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A new grant program to help struggling small Virginia businesses is expanding its criteria in an effort to help more small businesses.

Virginia launched the program called Rebuild VA last month to provide grants to small businesses that may not have had access to money from previous federal coronavirus relief programs.

However, the state is now allowing businesses that received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster loans or other funding from the federal CARES Act to apply.

“When we initially launched Rebuild VA, we focused on reaching the small businesses and nonprofit organizations most in need,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful for the work of our state agencies to swiftly adjust the parameters of this program so we can assist more Virginia businesses as they weather this health crisis and build back stronger.”

Virginia is planning to give $70 million in grants to small businesses and nonprofit organizations whose operations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants of up to $10,000 will be award to as many as 7,000 applicants to cover eligible business expenses.

State officials said half of the funds will be distributed to eligible small businesses and nonprofits operating in low-income and economically disadvantaged communities.

Small businesses and nonprofits are defined under the program as those that have annual gross revenues of no more than $1.5 million and have no more than 25 employees.

The Rebuild VA funding may be used for:

  • Payroll support, including paid sick, medical or family leave, and costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during those periods of leave.
  • Employee salaries.
  • Mortgage payments, rent and utilities.
  • Principal and interest payments for any business loans from national or state-chartered banking, savings and loan institutions, or credit unions that were incurred before or during the emergency.
  • Eligible personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting materials, or other working capital needed to address COVID-19 response.

The state has already begun to receive applications. Business owners can apply online at www.governor.virginia.gov/rebuildva or request a paper application by calling 804-786-6585.

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