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September 02, 2020

Federal funds will help small businesses

Credit: Cumberland Times-News, Brandon Glass

FROSTBURG — Small businesses in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties affected by the coronavirus will receive more than $1 million in federal gap funding, according to an announcement by lawmakers.

U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and U.S. Rep. David Trone announced that $3.4 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act Recovery Assistance will go to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in Maryland.

The Tri-County Council for Western Maryland located in Frostburg will administer $1.023 million aimed at providing gap financing to affected small businesses in the three counties.

“As a former small business owner, I knew we had to get support — and fast — to small business owners in Allegany County that suffered from the pandemic through no fault of their own,” Trone said. “I heard from business owners in Western Maryland that this funding was crucial to their survival, so I fought to make sure we could get federal dollars right here in Allegany County.”

The program is designed to partner with local banks and other lenders to lessen the risk to the primary lender, and borrowers must create or retain jobs in order to be eligible.

The Tri-County Council was invited to apply for the additional funding to be disbursed as low interest loans to Western Maryland businesses, said Guy Winterberg, Tri-County assistant director.

The funding, available through the CARES Act, is a way to address the need for capital across the region, as the special loan program allows for a quick turnaround and low interest rates and the ability to provide up to 100% of the financing need of businesses for a limited time.

“We are pleased that we are able to offer this program to our local businesses during such a time of need,” he said.

Local businesses interested in applying for loans can contact Chris Funk at 301-689-1300.

The CARES Act was signed into law in March 27 and provides the Economic Development Administration with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus.

“These investments come at a crucial time to help Maryland’s and our nation’s economy come roaring back and provide hard-working Americans with new opportunities,” said Dana Gartzke, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and EDA is pleased to invest these CARES Act funds so that Maryland businesses have access to capital to respond to and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”