Business, State News

Bridge Program aimed to fill gaps of businesses losses

Aimed at those who have not yet received aid or continue to see losses despite aid

Governor Phil Scott, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) and the Dept. of Economic Development (DED) announced Thursday, June 3, the launch of the latest economic recovery funding for Vermont businesses. On Monday, June 7, the application portal for the Economic Recovery Bridge Program opened. It is expected to deliver $30 million in financial relief to businesses who have not received state and federal funding due to eligibility constraints and to businesses who can show a continued loss of revenues due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As we move out of the pandemic emergency and into our long-term recovery, it’s so important that we support Vermont’s small businesses and employers, who are the backbone of our economy,” said Governor Scott. “These grants will provide critical relief in the short term, allowing them to rebuild a stable foundation for their economic futures.”

H.315 (Act 9) appropriates $10 million and H.439 appropriates $20 million dollars of the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The legislative intent of the Economic Recovery Bridge Program is to provide priority funding to businesses that have not received prior state or federal financial assistance. To the extent that funds remain available, the program is also intended to provide funding to businesses that have suffered a net loss even after receiving state or federal aid.

“We know that businesses continue to suffer losses due to the pandemic and that some businesses have not had the ability to access existing funding to help them recover from these sustained losses,” said Joan Goldstein, commissioner of the Dept. of Economic Development. “As we move past the pandemic, these funds are intended to bridge those final gaps, so that businesses can recover and thrive in the months and years ahead.”

Eligible businesses must be domiciled and have their primary place of business in Vermont and demonstrate that the business experienced a net tax loss in 2020, greater than any net loss reported in 2019 via submitted federal tax returns. 

Grants will be issued on a first come, first served basis and priority will be given as follows:

Priority for the first 30 days will be given to businesses that have not received or do not have a pending application for any state or federal financial assistance in 2020 or 2021 including, but not limited to:

  • Paycheck Protection Program loans and grants
  • Economic Injury Disaster loans and grants
  • Vermont Economic Recovery grants
  • Sole Proprietor Stabilization Program grants
  • Healthcare Provider grants
  • Restaurant Revitalization grants
  • Shuttered Venue grants
  • Vermont Agricultural grants

After the initial 30-day window, second tier priority will be given to businesses who suffered a 2020 net tax loss and can still demonstrate an adjusted net loss after adding back the amounts of non-taxable assistance received in 2020 and 2021.

An informational webinar on the program and application process was held Friday, June 4. A recording is now posted to the ACCD website, accd.vermont.gov. The application portal opened on Monday, June 7. A support line is available by calling 802-828-1200.

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