Small Business Resources
A range of resources for small businesses is available through CenterState CEO and partners in the region, as well as other sources of assistance and funding through state, federal and nonprofit sources.
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Local & State Resources
Empire State Development
Empire State Development is New York State's economic development agency that promotes a growing state economy, encourages business investment and job creation, and supports diverse, prosperous local economies across New York State through loans, grants, tax credits, real estate development, marketing and other forms of assistance.
Additional Grant & Funding Opportunities
NYS Surety Bond Assistance Program
The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is expanding this program with $22 million in additional funding. This program is designed to assist small or MWBE contractors gain access to surety bonds. It provides contractors with no cost guarantees of up to 30% or $600,000 (whichever is less) on a bond line or individual contract bid bonds and payment/performance bonds. Contractors will be responsible for paying surety company bond premium charges. Eligibility includes:
- Must be a New York State small business or MWBE with at least two years of business operations.
- Maximum bond line or project size generally is $2 million.
- Minimum average gross revenue of $400,000 in each of the last two fiscal or calendar years and maximum gross revenue generally not to exceed $5 million in the most recent calendar or fiscal year.
- Minimum credit score of 600.
- Previous experience completing similar work to the contract opportunity being pursued.
For additional information and how to apply, click here.
NYS Contractor Financing Program
Funded through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), this program provides $22 million for loan loss reserves to incentivize lending intermediaries to create access to capital to support New York State contractors with revenues up to $5 million and fewer than 100 employees. Loans can support working capital, improvement machinery and equipment, or other related costs required to execute those contracts. Loans are in the form of lines of credit or managed lines of credit and terms typically include loans of up to $500,000 and loan periods under 18 months. Lenders may require collateral or other guarantees from the borrower if applicable. For additional information and how to apply, click here.
NY Department of Labor Shared Work Program
Designed to help businesses keep trained staff and avoid layoffs. Employees can receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Learn more.
COVID-19 Pandemic Resources
Global NY State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)
In partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Empire State Development is expanding access to funding to help small businesses grow their export capabilities and activities. Up to $10,000 in grants per award period are available to eligible small businesses with export-ready products and services to assist with:
- Participation in programmed foreign trade missions
- Subscription to services provided by the Department of Commerce
- Trade show exhibition (international and qualified domestic trade shows)
- Participation in export training workshops
- Qualified foreign market sales trips
- Website Content/Foreign Language Translation
- Development of International Marketing Campaign(s)
- Compliance Testing
- Consultancy Services
- Export Credit Insurance Premium Reimbursement
The funding period is September 30, 2023 – December 31, 2024 and the application is open. Awards are issued on a first-come, first-served basis until program funds are expended. For more information and to apply, click here.
NYS Tourism Return-to-Work Grant Program
Grants available to help support employment growth among for-profit businesses and not-for-profit organizations that attract and support tourism and suffered economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a financial incentive and financial assistance to hire workers. Businesses and organizations will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000 per net new full-time employee increase, and up to $2,500 per net new part-time employee increase during 2022. Employment increases will be based on total employment and not specific individual employees. Deadline to apply is June 30, 2023. For more information including how to apply, click here.
SEDCO ARPA Small Business Lending Program [Round II]
In order to help address the economic challenges and hardship experienced by the small business community in Syracuse since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, SEDCO is establishing a new funding program to provide financial support to small businesses: Micro-Enterprise Assistance, Small Business Assistance, and the Community Impact Fund. The goal of these funds is to enable Syracuse businesses to continue to operate and assist with pursuing new investment opportunities to adapt to the changing economic landscape. The program is designed to promote local economic recovery, encourage consumer confidence and access local products and services provided by City businesses. Learn more.
Oswego County COVID-19 Emergency Relief Program
Eligible applicants are commercial, for-profit entities that own or manage a business with fewer than 50 employees and are located within Oswego County. Interest-free emergency loans of up to $10,000 with 180-day terms are available to support operations and employment directly impacted by COVID-19. Learn more and apply.
Cortland County Business Development Corporation COVID-19 Business Assistance Loan
Cortland County is still offering business assistance loans from $10,000 to $25,000 for those engaged in business for profit and conducting, or proposing to conduct, business in Cortland County. Learn more and apply.
Small Business Development Centers
Small Business Development Centers, part of the U.S. Small Business Administration and located locally in communities, provide counseling and training to small businesses including working with SBA to develop and provide informational tools to support business startups and existing business expansion.
Additional Grant & Funding Opportunities
New USDA Procurement Tool for Small and Disadvantaged Businesses
USDA has developed a new online tool to assist small business, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned businesses, HUBZone businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, and other businesses participate in contracting and subcontracting opportunities with USDA. The Procurement Forecast tool lists anticipated solicitations that are over USDA’s simplified acquisition threshold, providing another resource for businesses to access USDA contracting opportunities. For more information, click here. Search the Procurement Forecast tool.
USDA Rural Development - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
REAP was allocated $2 billion through the federal Inflation Reduction Act to provide grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements through 2031. Of these funds, $1.05 billion will be granted in FY 2023 and FY 2024 through six quarterly competitions, with the first deadline of June 30, 2023. Maximum grant awards have been increased to $500,000 for energy efficiency projects and $1 million for renewable energy systems, and the federal share was raised to 50% for all energy efficiency and zero-emission renewable energy projects, as well as all projects in designated energy communities and submitted by eligible tribal entities. For additional information about how to apply, click here.
COVID-19 Pandemic Resources
SBA PPP Loan Forgiveness Portal
While the PPP program ended on May 31, 2021, SBA has launched a streamlined application process to more easily apply for loan forgiveness. Borrowers with PPP loans of less than $150,000 through participating lenders will be able to apply directly to SBA for forgiveness through its portal. Lenders are required to opt-in to this program using the portal. In addition to the platform, the SBA is standing up a PPP customer service team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their forgiveness applications: (877) 552-2692, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. EST.
SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
3/15/22 update: SBA Administrator Guzman announced that SBA “will provide additional deferment of principal and interest payments for existing COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program borrowers for a total of 30 months deferment from inception on all approved COVID EIDL loans. The extended deferment period will provide additional flexibility to small business owners impacted by the pandemic, especially those in hard-hit sectors managing disruption with recent variants, as well as recent supply chain and inflation challenges amid a growing economic recovery.”
Borrowers with questions can call SBA’s COVID EIDL Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-833-853-5638 (borrowers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability can dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services) or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov for additional assistance. The center is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Multilingual representatives are available. Small business owners may also contact SBA’s Resource Partners by visiting www.sba.gov/local-assistance. For more information visit: www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/eidl.
Community Funds, Foundations & Other Support
Financial resources and tools may be available to businesses and employers through other nonprofits and philanthropic organizations. Some examples are below.
Local Organization & Resources
Local foundations, such as the Central New York Community Foundation, Gifford Foundation and United Way support nonprofits, small businesses and community initiatives to create a more thriving and prosperous economy. Learn more about their work, impact, and funding opportunities they provide:
National Organizations & Resources
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready Grants
In partnership with LISC, Verizon is offering $10,000 in grants to small businesses. To apply for a grant, small businesses must have an account on Verizon Small Business Digital Ready and complete any combination of two courses, coaching events, and virtual community event (e.g., one course and one coaching event, one course and one virtual community event, two courses, or two events) by December 20, 2023. All resources are free. Priority will be given to businesses located in and/or serving historically underserved communities without access to flexible, affordable capital. Grant applications must also be submitted by December 20, 2023. To register, click here. For more information about the grant program, click here.
Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator
Amazon is committing $150 million “to drive economic equity for Black entrepreneurs, providing them with resources to thrive as entrepreneurs and business leaders.” In partnership with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. and the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency, this initiative provides financial support, business education and mentorship, and marketing and promotion of brands and products as third-party sellers in Amazon’s store. Financial assistance includes Amazon services and credits valued at $3,900. Learn more.
The Barstool Fund
Barstool Sports has created the Barstool Fund in support of the 30 Day Fund to help small businesses survive. Small business owners must still be paying their employees and explain what the funds would be used for, such as paying bills or employees. Learn more and apply.
Berkshire Bank ReevxLabs
A new online resource hub, ReevxLabs.com, provides resources for emerging entrepreneurs, artists and small nonprofit organizations. The Labs target support to the underbanked and feature free co-working sites and financial resources.
Hello Alice Small Business Growth FundI
The Small Business Growth Fund provides the opportunity for small business owners to receive grants of between $5,000 and $25,000 to accelerate their growth and achieve their goals in 2023. Eligible business must:
- Be a for-profit business located and registered in one of the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia
- Have less than $1 mllion in 2022 gross annual revenue
- Have a commitment to their customers and community
- Have a clear plan for how the funds will help them achieve a significant growth milestone in 2023
Applications close July 21, 2023 at 6 p.m. Learn more and apply.
Radical Xchange Charitable gifts for Black Mental Health Relief
Radical Xchange and Another Round, Another Rally have partnered together to provide Mental health relief to Black hospitality workers in need. This fund is specifically to support Black Hospitality workers living in the US. Hospitality workers, for the purpose of this grant, include anyone working, front or back of the house, in a bar, restaurant, cafe, brewery, wine shop/ winery, or popup events dealing with food and beverage, food preparation, and food service. Learn more and apply.
SOGAL Black Founder Startup Grants
$5,000 and $10,000 grants for Black women-owned and Black nonbinary-owned entrepreneurs. Grantees will also receive “tactical help navigating the fundraising environment at large so that they will have a more equitable opportunity at scaling the next billion-dollar idea’ and “lifetime ‘ask-me-anything’ access to the SoGal Foundation and SoGal Ventures teams.” Learn more. Grantees are chosen at random each month after filling out a quick application.
Kiva provides up to $15,000 in zero percent-interest loans for small businesses through their crowdsourcing platform. Learn more.
Open Road Alliance
Their mission is to provide one-time grants and loans to nonprofits and social enterprises experiencing unexpected external roadblocks, helping to keep their impact on track. For COVID-19 related funding, Open Road has put in place specific criteria and guidelines separate from their regular guidelines. Learn more.