The Reading Small Business Emergency Fund is a new loan fund developed to provide emergency relief to small businesses struggling under the financial impact of COVID-19. The Emergency Fund is designed to help small “mom and pop” businesses within the City of Reading, PA.

Over the past month, the fund was developed by the Administration of Mayor Eddie Moran with assistance from Community First Fund and is in response to the urgent needs of the Reading City business community in the midst of the dramatic economic downturn sparked by the pandemic. Federal resources provided through the CARES Act offer important resources, but due to the overwhelming need, they will likely be insufficient and will not reach the most vulnerable small businesses in our community.

The May 27 launch of the Reading Small Business Emergency Fund will open with $1 Million available in highly flexible, low-interest loans administered by Community First Fund. This new forgivable loan program is funded by the City of Reading: $350,000 is from the current city small business Enterprise Loan Fund; $650,000 is from Community Development Block Grant funds. The funds are expected to assist approximately 100-200 city-based small businesses.

BUSINESS QUALIFICATIONS AND ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS 

PurposeThis fund is intended to support an inclusive and diverse small business environment within Reading City. Businesses with up to $1 million in annual revenue may apply.
Business QualificationsThis is NOT a first-come, first-served fund. All applications will be equally considered based on the following criteria.

All borrowers will need to meet these two requirements:
• Business MUST be located in the City of Reading
• Businesses must have $1 million or less in annual revenue to apply

Priority will be given to borrowers that meet these additional requirements:
• Business must have five or less employees, and one or more of those must be the business owner. A part-time employee is counted as one employee.
• The business owner must be a low or moderate income level person, OR the business must create or retain one job.
• There will be a preference for small businesses that have a storefront, including but not limited to, retail stores, restaurants, auto repair shops, grocery stores and other critical businesses.

Note: The Review Committee reserves the right to add further priorities or change eligibility criteria based upon applicant pool.
Use of FundsFunds are to be used for business purposes only including working capital needs such as:
• payroll
• mortgage or rent
• utility payments
• inventory
• other debt payments

LOAN PROGRAM 

Loan Limits • Businesses applying for a loan are encouraged to consider cash needs and ability to take on more debt.*
• Businesses with annual revenue less than $250,000 may apply for $2,500 - $5,000.**
• Businesses with annual revenue between $250,001 and $500,000 may apply for $5,000 - $10,000.
• Businesses with annual revenue between $500,001 and $1,000,000 may apply for $7,500 - $20,000.

* Final loan amounts determined by review committee.
** The goal of the fund is to serve as many Reading businesses as possible; however, if subscription is low, we may choose to increase loan amounts to the upper range provided above.
Loan Terms • 3-year loan
• 0% interest for the first year
• First payment is made after 6 months
• 1% interest years 2-3
Loan Forgiveness Loans will be eligible for forgiveness pending documented proof that funds were used as agreed AND that they re-opened (or remained open) for a minimum of 90 days once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
What You'll Need to Apply:• Most recent Business Tax Return (2018 or 2019)
• If you have not filed your 2019 Business Tax Return, provide your December 31, 2019 Internally-prepared financial statement in addition to your 2018 Business Tax Return
• Listing of personal assets, liabilities, and net worth (entered into application directly)
• List of all business debt (entered into application directly)
Note: We will pull credit reports and conduct lien searches on businesses
• A description of the impact of COVID-19 on your business and your recovery plan (entered into application directly)
Note: Collateral may be required for some loans

APPLICATION INFORMATION

The application will be available from May 27, 8 a.m. to June 10, 5 p.m. A link to the application will be posted on this website on Wednesday, May 27 at 8 a.m.

This is NOT a first-come, first-served fund. Once the application window closes on June 10 at 5 p.m., all applications will be equally considered.

We’re committed to a simple, low-barrier process. All cumbersome and non-essential steps have been removed. Businesses applying for a loan are encouraged to consider cash needs and ability to take on more debt.

NOTE: Owners of multiple businesses can only apply for funding for ONE of their businesses. 

The application will be available in English and Spanish.

MANAGEMENT & DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS

Community First Fund — a central PA 501(c)(3) nonprofit and certified Community Development Financial Institution — will be managing and distributing all funding in an equitable, timely, and structured manner.

Once applications close on June 10, all applications will be equally considered.

  • June 10 — Application closes
  • June 24 — Loan decisions completed
  • June 30 — Loan disbursements begin

QUESTIONS?