*We will now accept applications until 7/17/2020
The Small Business Restart Grant Program is providing grants between $2,500 and 10,000 to eligible business owners located within Berks County, but outside the City of Reading.
Grant must be used to cover the following business-related expenses:
• Rent/mortgage payments for business location
• Payroll costs
• Inventory or supply costs
• Utilities costs
Small businesses that meet these requirements are encouraged to apply:
• Privately held, for-profit businesses located in Berks County but outside the city of Reading
• Small businesses with 2 – 8 employees
• Businesses with gross revenues of $1,000,000 or less
• Businesses that can demonstrate hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic
• Businesses that agree to develop, implement and enforce a “public health and safety reopening plan”
We will be accepting applications on our website starting on June 29th. Detailed eligibility requirements and additional information will be posted on our website.
The City of Reading has its own version of the program. If your business is located within the City, please go to the readingpa.gov website for more info.
Any other questions can be directed to SBRLBerksCty@nhsgb.org
Are we accepting paper applications?
To protect the public and county employees, all nonessential County offices are closed, so we are accepting and processing applications remotely. However, under special circumstances (e.g., ADA accommodations, other documented special needs, etc.), Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks will accept paper applications on a case-by-case basis.
Download SBRG Application Forms 3in1
Eligible Grant Applicants
- For-Profit Businesses with a minimum of one (1) business owner and at least one (1) full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, but no more than one (1) owner and eight (8) full-time equivalent (FTE) employees as of January, 2020 will be eligible (NOTE: For purpose of determining eligibility for the SBRG Program, the term “one  business owner” shall include all natural persons with an ownership interest in the entity applying for the grant regardless of the number of owners or percentage of ownership interest therein. For example, four  natural persons who are shareholders/members/partners in the Applicant Business constitute “one  business owner” even if paid as employees of the Applicant Business for the purpose of determining eligibility of the Applicant Business);
- For-Profit Businesses with a maximum of 8 FTE employees will be determined and met with a combination of full-time and part-time employees (i.e., 8 FTE average number of employees, and not including the business owner);
- For purposes of Berks County’s Small Business Restart Grant (SBRG) Program, a full-time equivalent (FTE) employee is someone employed by the business owner(s) who works a regular schedule of 35 or more hours per week (Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division);
- For-Profit Businesses with annual gross revenues of $1,000,000 or less (based on the most recent Federal Tax returns data);
- For-Profit Business owners who operate a business primarily in a municipality of Berks County and outside the City of Reading;
- For-Profit Businesses must have a physical address in a municipality within the corporate limits of Berks County (and outside the City of Reading);
- For-Profit Businesses must be incorporated/organized in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or registered to conduct business in the Commonwealth;
- For-Profit Businesses must have a current, valid business license and/or required permit(s) to transact commercial activity legally within their industry sector, and as required by their municipality, Berks County, and/or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (NOTE: Most business licenses can be obtained by filing Form PA-100, Pennsylvania Enterprise Registration, and license and permit authority [i.e., licenses for certain type of businesses, and permits for building, electrical, plumbing, occupancy, zoning, health, etc.] rests with the individual municipalities, and are all issued locally, not by Berks County);
- For-Profit Businesses shall agree to retain a minimum of one (1) full-time equivalent (FTE) employee which is available to or held by LMI persons—as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—by March, 2021;
- For-Profit Businesses shall expend all grant funds to restart and reopen their businesses by December 31, 2020;
- For-Profit Businesses shall enroll in and complete the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance’s (GRCA’s) three-part “Best Practices for Re-Opening Your Business Certificate Program” by no later than December 31, 2020;
- For-Profit Businesses shall certify to the development, implementation, and enforcement of his/ her/their business’ “Public Health and Safety Reopening Plan” to mitigate the spread of COVID-19; and
- Only one business grant will be awarded to an eligible business owner(s) who owns multiple businesses with 51 percent controlling interest in Berks County.
Permitted Uses of Grant Funds for Restarting Business Operations and Related Expenses:
- Rent/Mortgage Payment – business location expenses from July 1, 2020 forward.
- Payroll Costs – personnel expenses from July 1, 2020 forward.
NOTE: No more than 15% of eligible payroll costs can be used to pay the business owner(s) beyond what was previously reported for annual income on federal and state tax returns, and/or most recent financial records (e.g., balance sheet, P&L Statement, payroll records, W-2 Forms, etc.).
- Inventory or Supplies Costs – expenses needed to restart business operations from July 1, 2020 forward.
- Utilities Costs – expenses to reopen business operations from July 1, 2020 forward. Utilities must be directly tied to the business operations and/or physical location.
Required Supporting Documents to be Submitted with Grant Application
- Before you apply for this program, kindly collect, organize, and label all required documents.
- If you have all of your documents, the application process will be easier and less time-consuming to finish and submit electronically.
Please complete the online application through the Neighborhood Housing Services of Berks County website, and upload the following required documents:
- Copy of most recently filed Business Tax Return;
- 2020 Year-to-Date (YTD) by month profit and loss statement;
- Submit an employee form for at least one (1) low-to-moderate income (LMI), full-time equivalent (FTE) employee that you intend to retain, which may include both full-time or part-time employees. To retain an employee, please complete the “Employee Staffing Form” (Enclosed);
- Business Owner(s) statement that describes and explains how your business suffered and/or experienced economic hardship by the COVID-19 pandemic (Please limit your response to 250 words);
- Permission to check the credit history, credit bureau ratings, and/or FICO scores of the business’ owner(s);
- Copy of your current and valid business license; and
- Copy of all federal, state, and local business financial assistance received (e.g., approval letters, loan documents, etc.) to reopen and restart business operations due to COVID-19.
NOTE: Attach/upload electronically or submit copies in-person of funding assistance received
(e.g., from business insurance, FEMA, SBA, private loan, line of credit, charitable institution funding sources, etc.) with your required SBRG Program application documents.
In summary, all submitted materials will be used to determine the business’ eligibility for grant funding. Only complete applications will be considered for a decision.