The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us. It’s not merely a public health crisis –this pandemic affected every aspect of our lives, and our businesses with it. But here at Neighborhood Community Development Fund, we help small businesses navigate challenges. When pandemic closures first started, we took measures to make sure our small businesses got the help and support they needed.
Starting the PA CDFI Network
The Pennsylvania Community Development Financial Institutions Network, better known as the PA CDFI Network, is a coalition of 17 Pennsylvania-based community development financial institutions that worked to provide more than $250 million in grants to more than 14,000 small businesses across Pennsylvania. In the early months of the pandemic, we were instrumental in helping to pull the Network together and bring it to life. This collaboration leveraged shared resources and mobilized local networks so that small businesses in all 67 counties of the Commonwealth could get the funding they need, via the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. We’re proud to have been a part of getting the PA CDFI Network up and running.
Getting Funding to Small Businesses
COVID-19 closures, while necessary to help preserve public health and safety, stopped many small businesses in their tracks. For many of these business owners, it was hard to imagine a future where their business got through to the other side of the pandemic in one piece. Morale was low– but funding from the government provided a sliver of hope, and the power to help these entrepreneurs take action. These funds helped business owners make rent, pay the bills and keep the lights on.
Through it all, we’re glad to have played our part in helping these entrepreneurs out. Whether it was by connecting small businesses with multiple rounds of Paycheck Protection Program loans, alerting them about other funding opportunities (like the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program), or deferring loan payments for small businesses during this difficult time, our team worked hard to help small businesses gain access to the resources they needed.
Education, the Virtual Way
During the early months of the pandemic, individuals lost access to the many in-person networking events and conferences that they’d normally attend in pre-COVID times. Thankfully, virtual events and remote learning opportunities bridged existing gaps. We helped to sponsor and orchestrate some of these events. For example, look at the Business Builders series. Through this series, we helped local entrepreneurs get access to affordable information designed to help their small businesses survive and thrive.
Pandemic or not, our team is ready to assist your small business with its needs. If you’d like to learn more about what we can do for you, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mark Masterson, Executive Director