HAMPTON — Gov. Ralph Northam announced $70 million for small businesses and nonprofit organizations whose normal operations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will be made available through Rebuild VA, a new economic recovery fund, and grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to approximately 7,000 applicants to cover eligible expenses.
Rebuild VA will be administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD). Businesses and nonprofits must be in good standing, have annual gross revenues of no more than $1.5 million, and have no more than 25 employees. Eligible businesses and nonprofits include food and beverage establishments, non-essential retail, exercise and fitness, entertainment and public amusement, personal care and personal grooming services, and private campground and overnight summer camps. Businesses must also certify that they have not received federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funds or other funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“Small businesses and nonprofits are the backbone of the Virginia economy and the bedrock of our communities, and they have been devastated by this ongoing health crisis,” said Governor Northam. “Rebuild VA will help address the vast challenges that small businesses and nonprofits across our Commonwealth are facing as they work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Because many of the affected small businesses and nonprofits located in distressed and economically disadvantaged areas of Virginia, we are designating a portion of this funding to ensure they get the support they need.”
SBSD worked together with the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to develop Rebuild VA. The parameters for the initiative were established in House Bill 1505, which was amended during the reconvened session to implement a grant program for certain small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s clear that our COVID-19 economic recovery is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, and this puts great pressure on our small businesses to make costly, unexpected adjustments, from paid sick leave to purchasing PPE,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “It is our goal that Rebuild VA will help ease the burden on small businesses, which are the livelihood of many Virginia families.”
In an effort to accomplish the Northam administration’s objectives for diversity, equity, and inclusion, half of the program funds will be distributed to eligible small businesses and nonprofits operating in low-income and economically disadvantaged communities. This will help to meet the needs of underserved businesses and nonprofits with broad geographic diversity, while ensuring there is adequate representation of minority- and women-owned businesses.
“Access to capital remains the number one challenge for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said SBSD Director Tracey G. Wiley. “At a time such as this, providing funding to the most vulnerable businesses—the unbanked and underserved is our primary objective. The Agency is proud to administer Rebuild VA in partnership with our sister agencies across the Commonwealth.”
Rebuild VA funding may be utilized for the following eligible expenses:
- 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.
SBSD will hold several webinars to review eligibility requirements and documentation needed to apply when the application opens on Aug. 10.
For more information about Rebuild VA, eligibility criteria, covered expenses, and how to submit an application, please visit governor.virginia.gov/RebuildVA.