Rep. Bizzarro: Apply now for small business paycheck protection

Special program targets companies with less than 20 employees

ERIE, March 1 -- State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, is urging local small businesses to look into new Paycheck Protection Program loans that can help keep people employed during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I heard from many Erie County business owners who told me their stories of frustration in 2020 as they tried to get help keeping their business going during the pandemic,” said Bizzarro. “One of the biggest complaints was that large companies were gobbling up the relief money, leaving nothing for them. I took those complaints to the federal level, and now I’m glad to see helpful changes.”

President Joe Biden announced last week that the U.S. Small Business Administration is running an exclusive PPP loan application period for small businesses or nonprofits with less than 20 people, or sole proprietors, until March 9. This will give lenders and community partners more time to work with the smallest businesses to submit their applications, while also ensuring that larger PPP-eligible businesses will still have plenty of time to apply for and receive support before the program expires March 31.

“Better targeting of money to help our mom-and-pop businesses is important. They make up the bulk of our economy while taking the hardest hits during the pandemic,” Bizzarro said.

Bizzarro is urging qualifying businesses to apply before the March 9 time frame exclusively set aside for them. The Small Business Development Center at Gannon University is a resource for Erie County companies and can help them navigate the process.