Hochul announces $200M seed funding grant for early-stage businesses impacted by COVID-19

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Associated Press/Hans Pennink, file

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced that the applications portal for the first-in-the-nation Seed Funding Grant Program, created as part of the FY2023 budget, will open on Wednesday.

The program provides flexible grants to support early stage, micro and small businesses in a still recovering New York State economy. The program will ensure that small businesses that opened shortly before or during the COVID-19 pandemic will have the funds to continue to operate and grow.

“This first-in-the-nation Seed Funding Grant Program rounds out $1 billion in flexible funding to support both early-stage, and established small and micro-businesses,” Gov. Hochul said. “New York businesses were among the hardest hit nationwide at the height of the pandemic, but with this funding, we’re extending a lifeline to help them continue to grow and operate.

“Applications open tomorrow, and I encourage all New York business owners to take full advantage and be a part of New York’s remarkable recovery,” she added.

The governor said this program builds upon New York State’s existing $800 million Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, which has delivered more than $639 million to over 35,000 small businesses since it launched last year, with 90 percent of funding having gone to minority and women-owned businesses.

Starting on Tuesday, Empire State Development will expand eligibility for the program, enabling more small businesses to access funding by removing the requirement that businesses show a 25 percent loss in annual gross receipts from 2019 to 2020.

This expansion of eligibility comes in addition to previous program changes to profitability requirements and revenue thresholds, aimed at serving additional small businesses.

The program, which will continue to process applications currently in the pipeline, will close as funding winds down on Sept. 30, 2022.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The pandemic has had profound impacts on our economy and our small and micro businesses were among the hardest hit, especially in New York State.

“Supporting our State’s small businesses has been a priority of Governor Hochul’s administration and the steps taken to expand eligibility and get funding out the door has helped countless businesses stay on track,” Knight added. “The $800 million Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program and now the new Seed Funding Grant Program marks unprecedented support for New York State’s small businesses and for our economic success moving forward.”

Hochul said the new Seed Funding Grant Program is designed to support New York State small businesses, micro-businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations that started operations on or after Sept. 1, 2018 and have been operational for at least six months before an application is submitted.

Applicants must have between $5,000 and $1 million in gross receipts per year as reflected on their most recent federal business tax return. More detailed guidelines can be found here.

Awards for eligible businesses are based on their 2020 or 2021 tax returns. Businesses with gross receipts ranging from $5,000 to $49,999.99 can receive $5,000 per business.

Businesses with $50,000 to $99,999.99 in gross receipts may be awarded $10,000 per business.

Businesses with $100,000 to $1 million in gross receipts will be awarded ten percent of their gross receipts with a maximum grant amount of $25,000 per business.

Eligible applicants that have not yet filed a federal tax return can receive $5,000 per business.

Businesses that have started but not yet completed their current application for the Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program must submit all necessary information by 5:00 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2022.

Recognizing the various challenges that small business owners face, New York State provides one-on-one assistance, webinars, a call center, and materials in fourteen languages to ensure greater access to this critical funding.

Additionally, ESD’s network of partner organizations that offer support services to entrepreneurs and small businesses will help with pandemic relief grant and loan applications.

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov).

The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies.

Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD said it strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State.

ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the state’s iconic tourism brand.

For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.