IDA Hospitality Grant closed, but COVID-19 loans are still available

Waynesburg University

Applications are closed and funds have run out for the Greene County Industrial Development Authority’s COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program. According to Connie Bloom, Industrial Development Authority Associate, the funds went to nine businesses throughout the county. The maximum amount that a business could apply for was $50,000.

“We had $410,000 to hand out, and we had nine businesses receive grants,” Bloom said. “We didn’t determine the amount of money that they applied for, that was up to the businesses and we accepted applications until those funds were exhausted. Then that program was closed because that was the amount allotted to the county.”

The IDA worked with the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) on the grant, and Richard Cleveland, Executive Director of County Development, said that this is because the SPC is a Certified Economic Development Organization (CEDO). According to Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development guidelines, a CEDO is an “economic development organization that has complied with the provisions of these guidelines and has been certified by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.”

“The reason we work with them is because they have a CEDO,” Cleveland said. “You have to use a CEDO in order to process the grant for the state.”

According to Cleveland, there was not a lot of interest in the grant originally.

“The interesting thing with that is, you would think that people would be knocking down the doors to get that money, but we had to go out and search for people to apply and make sure that they knew about the program,” he said. 

The authority is still offering an emergency loan as part of the IDA’s revolving loan that is open for applications year to year. According to Bloom, the emergency loan program offers two options.

“The emergency loan is actually part of our revolving loan program and it assists local businesses in Greene County that were negatively impacted by COVID-19 and that loan can be for up to $50,000 for 15 years,” Bloom said. “It can be for refinancing and loan consolidation at 2%, or it can be for working capital, utilities, rent, leases, vendor invoices and those types of things, and then the interest rate would be 1%.”

Bloom said that businesses are permitted to receive more than one loan from the IDA, but a business may not receive more than one loan within a twelve-month period. 

“You can come in and get an emergency loan this year and then in 12 months if you still need help you can come back,” Bloom said. “We have requirements and guidelines that we have to follow and make sure that you did what you said you were going to do with the money, and that type of thing.”

Bloom said that the IDA hopes that the loan can help businesses. She said that the IDA is a nontraditional lender that is willing to offer loans to higher-risk businesses.

“I think that we would hope that they use our loan program to stay open and viable to get, to keep employees in the county and keep their business in the county,” she said. “We are a nontraditional lender so we take risks on higher risk businesses that may not be able to get loans through a traditional bank. I think that sometimes you need to keep the doors open, so if we can assist that then that’s what we want to do.”