Business Assistance:

The following information highlights programs that are being made available to businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Check back often as new programs will be added as they are announced. 


U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans:

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering Economic Disaster Assistance Loans to small businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills a small business may have that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Governor Cuomo has applied to the SBA to make those funds available for New York's small businesses.

These low interest rate working capital loans are designed to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. The program provides up to $2 million in necessary working capital during the period before normal operations resume. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period. For more information on the SBA Economic Disaster Assistance Loan Program, click here, or call the NCCC Small Business Development Center at (716) 210-2515 to speak directly with a Specialist.  You can also view the application here.  Also be sure to check out a presentation from Empire State Development, which provides further details on the SBA Economic Disaster Assistance Loan Program. 

The U.S. SBA is also offering a Debt Relief Program, whereby the principal and interest of SBA 7(a) and 504 mortgage loans will be paid by SBA for up to six months.  This is not a deferment and the amount will not be added back onto the loan.

U.S. SBA also has Express Bridge Loans which will allow small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for a decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.  Learn more about these loan programs.

Federal Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act:

This $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus package is designed to assist individuals and businesses in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  To learn more about the major provisions of the bill and how they impact your business see the U.S Chamber of Commerce presentation here.  To see a Small Business Guide and Checklist for CARES Act Emergency Loans click.  Additional answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Paycheck Protection Program can be found here.  Finally, for more information on the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program visit the U.S. SBA website and be sure to contact the NCCC Small Business Development Center via email or at (716) 210-2515 to speak directly with a Specialist. The PPP Loan Forgiveness Application has been released and can be found here.  An EZ Application has also been released for those that are self-employed and have no employees, did not reduce salaries or wages of employees more than 25%, and did not reduce the number of hours for employees, or experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of employees by more than 25%.  The EZ Application can be found here.  A new simpler loan forgiveness application has also been created for businesses that received $50,000 or less in PPP funding.  Click here to see the application and here to see the instructions.


USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, agricultural producers that are not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program provisions included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

B&I CARES Act Program loans must be used as working capital to prevent, prepare for or respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The loans may be used only to support rural businesses, including agricultural producers, that were in operation on Feb. 15, 2020.  Applications must be received no later than midnight Eastern Daylight Time on September 15, 2021, or until funds are expended. Program funding expires Sept. 30, 2021.  Learn more


New York Forward Loan Fund:

New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF) is a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE.  NYFLF targets the state’s small businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (90% of all businesses), nonprofits and small landlords that have seen a loss of rental income.

NYFLF is providing working capital loans so that small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords have access to credit as they reopen. The loans are not forgivable in part or whole.  The loans will need to be paid back over a 5-year term with interest.  The working capital loans are timed to support businesses and organizations as they proceed to reopen and have upfront expenses to comply with guidelines (e.g., inventory, marketing, refitting for new social distancing guidelines) under the New York Forward Plan.  Click here to learn more and fill out an application.


IRS Employee Retention Credit:

On March 31, 2020 the United States Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.  Employers can be immediately reimbursed for the credit by reducing their required deposits of payroll taxes that have been withheld from employees' wages by the amount of the credit.  To learn more about the program and to see if you qualify click.


Essential Worker Child Care Program:

On March 20, 2020, the Niagara County Department of Social Services announced the Community Child Care Clearinghouse of Niagara.  This program is designed to assist families of essential workers that are in need of child care assistance. Call the Clearinghouse Hotline at (716) 285-8572 x109 or x105 for help finding child care in your area.


New York Power Authority Programs:

The New York Power Authority is waiving applicable energy and demand rate increases for its economic development power customers that participate in ReCharge New York, Replacment Power Expansion Power and Preservation Power programs for the July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 rate year.  In addition, customers participating in those NYPA power programs are now able to suspend payment to NYPA for up to six months beginning with their April 2020 electric bill.  Customers that opt-in to the new relief program can make payment installments over the following 18-months, free from any interest or penalities.  For more information contact Richard Smith, Director of Economic Development at the New York Power Authority at [email protected].  

ReCharge New York

ReCharge New York (RNY) is a statewide economic development power program administered by the New York Power Authority (NYPA).  The program provides power allocations to eligible applicants with the goal to create and retain jobs and spur capital investment in the state.  Given the current COVID-19 crisis, this program may present cost reduction opportunities for eligible businesses.  Click to learn more about the program or contact Richard Smith, Director of Economic Development at the New York Power Authority at [email protected].