The funding to create the grant program was included in the recently enacted State budget.
Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills), Chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business, introduced legislation, S.6397, to speed up the process of establishing the COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, a new, $800 million flexible recovery grant program being made available to small businesses who suffered pandemic related hardship over the past year. The funding to create the grant program was included in the recently enacted State budget, with a provision that Empire State Development, the State's economic development agency, would craft the parameters of the program and develop a means of facilitating applications and disbursement to needy small businesses.
Senator Anna M. Kaplan, Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business said "the pandemic has been devastating to New York's small business community, and they need our help right away if they're going to survive these challenging times. We passed an historic $800 million program to get money into the hands of struggling small businesses who desperately need assistance now, and we need to do everything in our power to speed up the process and ensure people are getting the help they need as quickly as possible. In working with my partners at Empire State Development, we're coming up with solutions, including this bill, that will help to do just that, and I'm grateful for their partnership and their hard work to get this program up and running with a sense of urgency."
A critical step in developing this new program involves the creation of digital infrastructure to support applications, processing, and grant disbursement, including an online a portal that will be able to handle a large influx of visitors and applicants on Day 1. By law, the state is required to issue an RFP to select a vendor who will be responsible for creating the digital infrastructure.
The legislation introduced today by Senator Kaplan, S.6397, will shorten the required length of the RFP for this specific program from 15 business days to 5 business days, speeding up the process of standing-up this important program by 2 full weeks.
The legislation is narrowly tailored and would only apply to the RFP process for this specific program.