One More Recovery Opportunity for Our Small Businesses

OVER THE LAST 15 MONTHS, the North Country Chamber has committed itself to assisting area businesses survive the pandemic and recover from its impacts in a number of ways. One of these has been to advocate for federal and state business support of various kinds and then to provide information, guidance and assistance in accessing available grants, loans and tax credits.

There is no question that these programs have directly helped thousands of North Country businesses and, though we have sadly lost a number of small businesses across the region, we have helped to keep a great many more businesses going than we might have assumed at the start.

While the main federal business programs are largely behind us, including two rounds of PPP and some special grant programs for restaurants and performance venues, an entirely new program of potential New York State grants for small business has recently opened up, following passage by the State Legislature a few months ago.

The Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, administered by Empire State Development, is offering fairly flexible grants for businesses smaller than defined by the federal programs. Eligible small businesses (which do not include non-profits) may have utilized one or more of the federal relief programs but within limits including no more than $100,000 in PPP loans and no more than $150,000under the SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. Applicants are allowed to have received an EIDL Advance Grant up to $10,000 and an EIDL Supplemental Grant up to $5,000.

Grant amounts are $5,000 to $50,000 for qualifying operating expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021.

While some small businesses will not qualify for this latest support program, many will, especially smaller enterprises that were unable to take full advantage of the federal programs. And if there is any possible need or interest, we want small businesses to check it out before assuming it is not possible.

For more information, go to the Chamber website at or give us a call. We will be happy to help you explore the possibility and, if eligible, to obtain available assistance. We continue to be committed to doing all we can to leave no business behind.

Garry Douglas is president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.