State’s Rebuild VA program allocated $100M to Va. small businesses
Grants were awarded to 2,500 businesses, nonprofits
The state has awarded $100 million in grants to 2,500 Virginia businesses and nonprofits through its Rebuild VA economic recovery fund, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday. All available funds have now been fully committed, the governor said in a news release.
Approximately $50 million went to women, minority and veteran-owned businesses, and 997 small businesses and nonprofit organizations in low-income and economically disadvantaged areas received funding. To date, Rebuild VA has received 15,700 applications, and the average grant award was $35,636.
In late October, Northam announced an expansion of Rebuild VA, which was launched in August with $70 million in federal CARES Act funds. The state, which allocated an additional $30 million to the program in October, lifted the previous $10,000 cap to $100,000, and eligible applicants expanded to include summer camps and other businesses that were previously excluded. The state Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity administers the Rebuild VA program
Along with the announcement, Northam called for Congress to pass another COVID-19 economic relief package to assist businesses and individuals before the end of the year. For months, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have been deadlocked over how much funding to commit to pandemic relief, as unemployment benefits run out for about 12 million people and evictions loom as a federal moratorium expires by the end of the year. This week, congressional talks toward a $916 billion relief bill proposed by the White House that included a one-time $600 direct payment but no federal unemployment supplement hit a wall.
“Rebuild VA has been a critical lifeline for thousands of small businesses and nonprofits that are grappling with the ongoing public health crisis and the resulting economic fallout,” Northam said in a statement. “Federal support was vital to establishing this program and mitigating the impacts of the pandemic on our economy, but we continue to face tremendous challenges with the virus surging across our country. Now, Congress must come together and quickly pass a bipartisan relief package that includes additional support for struggling families and businesses.”
Northam is set to give an update on Virginia’s COVID-19 pandemic Thursday. He said in an interview with CNBC a few days ago that further restrictions are on the table as rates of the coronavirus continue to rise. According to the Virginia Department of Health dashboard, the state recorded 4,398 new COVID cases on Tuesday, and the current seven-day positivity rate is 10.9%, a significant increase over the past two weeks.