On March 25, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the creation the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA) to aid small businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The CWCA is administered by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) and will offer working capital financing to small businesses through PIDA’s Small Business First Fund.
Under the CWCA program, for-profit Pennsylvania companies with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible to apply for loans up to a maximum amount of $100,000. Funds can be used for any working capital purposes, excluding fixed assets and production machinery and equipment.
The CWCA program loans will be offered on the following terms:
- Interest. The interest rate for CWCA loans will be 0%, except for “agricultural producers” in which case the interest rate is 2% fixed for the life of the loan. For purposes of the program, an agricultural producer is defined as “a business involved in the management and use of a normal agricultural operation for the production of a farm commodity” and farm commodity is defined as “any Pennsylvania-grown agricultural, horticultural, aquacultural, vegetable, fruit, and floricultural product of the soil, livestock and meats, wools, hides, furs, poultry, eggs, dairy products, nuts, mushrooms, honey products, and forest products.”
- Term. The loan term is 3 years with a 12-year amortization.
- Repayment. No payments will be due during the first year. Principal and interest, if applicable, will be due monthly for the second and third years together with a balloon payment due at the end of the third year.
- Security. The loan will be secured by a blanket lien on all business assets currently owned or acquired during the term of the loan.
- Guaranty. The loan will be guaranteed by any owner (individual or entity) with a 20% or more ownership interest in the borrower.
- Matching. No matching investment is required, except in the case of borrowers that are “retail / services enterprises” in which case CWCA can finance up to 50% of eligible working capital costs (up to $100,000). For purposes of the program, a retail/service enterprise is defined as “a for-profit business entity that is involved in the business-to-business service, business-to-public service, mercantile, commercial, or point of sale retail sectors.”
PIDA will partner with a network of nonprofit organizations called Certified Economic Development Organizations (CEDOs) to administer the CWCA program. The applicable CEDO will work directly with the applicant to package and underwrite the loan application. The CEDO will then submit the application to PIDA for final approval.
To apply, interested businesses should visit the CEDO webpage to determine which CEDO serves the county where the business is located in and then contact the appropriate CEDO directly to initiate the application process.
Pennsylvania follows cities such as Philadelphia and New York in offering relief loans for small businesses.