Lackawanna County to Launch Another Round of Small Business Grants

Lackawanna County will launch another round of a popular program providing $5,000 grants to qualifying small businesses.

Commissioners approved Wednesday a second phase of the program originally offered last year to combat pandemic-prompted inflation. Funding for the program’s extension, $500,000 in total, comes from the county’s federal American Rescue Plan Act allocation.

It’s designed to help businesses still recovering from the financial impacts of the pandemic and subsequent economic challenges, including inflation that drove up costs and limited consumer purchasing power. While inflation has abated significantly since a pandemic-era peak in 2022, some businesses continue to face challenges stemming from the economic disruption.

The flexible grant funding can be used to purchase equipment, pay or add personnel and cover other business expenses, such as rent, mortgages and utilities.

“Our local businesses are what makes our home here in Lackawanna County so special, and we all understand that they’re still facing economic pressure because of inflation due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Commissioner Matt McGloin said. “That’s why it’s important for us to continue to try to find ways to help our local businesses, because we understand that financial assistance at this critical time can be the difference between businesses staying in business or closing permanently.”

Eligible businesses must be for-profit, employ between one and 100 people and spend all of the grant money in Lackawanna County. They also must have faced pandemic-related hardships and been operating in or before 2019, among other terms.

More than 200 businesses applied during the first round of the program, with the county awarding 100 grants, economic development Director Kristin Magnotta said. Those that received grants during the first phase are not eligible during the second.

“We want to be able to spread it far and wide to all those that need help,” Magnotta said of the funding.

The grant window will open May 31 and runs through July.

Application materials and instructions will be available on the planning and economic development page of the county’s website, Hard copies of the application will also be available in the vestibule of the county government center, 123 Wyoming Ave., Scranton.