Chamber hopes new funding opportunities will aid local businesses

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The American Rescue Plan opens more funding opportunities for businesses, organizations, and workers who have been adversely affected by the pandemic, and local business leaders said they hope local business owners can take advantage of the opportunities being offered.

Rome Area Chamber of Commerce President William K. Guglielmo said the chamber encourages its members to review the information and take appropriate action to ensure the successful continued operation of their establishments and employment of their workers.

Noteworthy, he said, are the enhancements in the Paycheck Protection Plan and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan grant that will benefit those who are eligible to participate. Information that has recently been released is readily available at the chamber.

“Chamber members are continuing to adjust their business practices to meet the challenges head-on that are still in play,” said Guglielmo. “Since the pandemic began, the Rome business community has looked to its chamber for answers, advice and relevant updates that would provide what they needed to know to be able to continue to conduct business. Many partnering organizations and governmental agencies have been helpful and supportive in on-going efforts to disseminate timely information.”

For the most part, they include NY Empire State Development, Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center, Mohawk Valley EDGE, Chamber Alliance of NYS, Chamber Alliance of the Mohawk Valley, City of Rome, and Oneida County.

“As the months have gone by, the feedback we have received from Rome businesses has been incredibly encouraging,” Guglielmo said.

“Their positive attitudes and genuine expressions of determination prompted the Rome Chamber Board of Directors to explore other possibilities as to how we can be of even more help. “In mid-January, the idea of establishing a fund and distributing grants through a streamlined application process was conceived by members of the Chamber Executive Committee,” the chamber president said. “Since then, more than 20 businesses and individuals have eagerly made donations to the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce Business Assistance Fund, which is growing and is approaching $35,000.” 

Upon President Biden signing the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law, the Small Business Administration’s Senior Advisor Michael Roth said that the American Rescue Plan Act enables the SBA to continue to lift up the cornerstones of communities; the mom-and-pop businesses and non-profits that provide essential services for everyone’s every-day lives, hire from within neighborhoods, and more.

“Our nation’s more than 30 million small businesses are the economic engine of this country and, in alignment with the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on equitable treatment, the SBA will work tirelessly to ensure eligible borrowers will get access to this critical economic relief,” said Roth.

The American Rescue Plan Act’s Small Business Assistance and Support
provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries for programs the SBA is currently administering and adds new efforts, including:

$7.25 billion additional for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including to expand eligibility to additional non-profits and digital news services.

Additional funds are allocated for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, and now allows businesses to apply for both a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, and the SVOG.

$15 billion additional for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL) payments, including NEW $5 billion for Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance payments for those hardest hit.

$28.6 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants. 

$100 million to establish a Community Navigator pilot program; grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources.

SBA’s relief efforts can be found at www.sba.gov/coronavirusrelief, and more details about SBA updates and new efforts will be located there as well.

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