Small businesses are the heartbeat of a strong local economy and have played a significant role in Buffalo's economic renaissance, but many of Buffalo’s small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19. Here is a set of resources to help continue our support for our City’s employers during this difficult time. We appreciate all of our businesses as we continue to work together on our journey to economic recovery in the City of Buffalo.
Business Assistance Updates
The Erie County Back to Business Grant Program is a $20 million relief fund offering direct financial assistance to qualifying Erie County-based small businesses. The grant program aims to disperse funds to businesses with the greatest need while distributing the aid to as many small businesses as possible - in amounts that will create a meaningful impact. Apply Now!
NYFLF is providing working capital loans so that small businesses, nonprofits and small residential landlords have access to credit as they reopen. These loans are available to small businesses and nonprofits that did not receive a U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program of greater than $50,000 or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19 of any amount, except for EIDL advance grant of up to $10,000, and small residential landlords.
Reopen Buffalo is an online resource developed for small businesses and the community. In an effort to enhance communication with small businesses and City Hall, small businesses can sign up for a registry on the Reopen Buffalo webpage to receive key business guidance, new economic development resources, and critical updates related to COVID-19. Businesses will also be featured on our website map and directory.
Business Assistance Resources
The Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) is pleased to announce the COVID-19 Disaster Relief PPE Cost Reimbursement Grant Program. Small businesses and not-for-profit corporations that are M/WBE certified or located in Highly Distressed Areas (defined by the U.S. Census) may be eligible for up to $10,000 in reimbursement for the costs of acquiring personal protective equipment or installing fixtures necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Regional Development Corporation (RDC) (the lending arm of the Erie County Industrial Agency) is currently offering disaster relief business loans to qualified Erie County businesses affected by the COVID-19 shutdown. To apply, please call 716-856-6525, ext. 219
As the regional chamber of commerce, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership is committed to providing employers with the latest information and resources to help you deal with COVID-19 and its impact on business, our community, state and nation.
"Its Our Job"was launched to encourage continued compliance with guidelines set to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and give small businesses a fighting chance as they claw back from the pandemic. "Its Our Job" Digital Business Kit provides a spectrum of printable signs, social tools and other materials for businesses.
To help employers navigate the reopening of the economy post COVID-19, the Partnership developed BNP Business Link, a question and answer forum for and by the Buffalo Niagara business community.
Please send in your business questions and get expert answers quickly and confidentially.
The NY Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF), announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, will begin accepting pre-applications. The $100 million fund is a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE.
New York State is working to support small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by providing up-to-date resources and information about economic recovery and COVID-19-related loans, funding and business counseling. Please visit the link above for more information on the New York Forward Loan Fund and for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. The SBA loans are part of the $2 trillion federal stimulus bill (CARES Act) passed on March 27—and an additional $484 billion aid package signed on April 24.
As New York State continually monitors and responds to developments related to COVID-19, ESD is providing up-to-date guidance for the agency’s partners and other stakeholders impacted by the virus. This is a rapidly changing situation and ESD will be updating the resources below to reflect the latest information available. NYS Empire State Development - Submit Your COVID-19-Related Business Questions
New York State has partnered with business leaders to create a dedicated group of volunteers across different NYS industries – from law firms to financial professionals – to assist business owners with questions related to the impact of COVID-19 and to provide guidance on the SBA loan applications. The volunteer mentors are ready to assist.
Our nation's small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses.
The Buffalo District Office's operating area includes the 14 Westernmost counties of New York State. The District Office located in the state's second most populous City of Buffalo, has a full service Branch in the state's third most populous City of Rochester. The two offices are well located so as to provide maximum assistance to the industrial cities in which located plus surrounding suburban communities and the rural counties of the District.
SBA resumed processing EIDL applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 and will be processing those applications on a first-come, first-served basis. On June 15, SBA began accepting new EIDL and EIDL Advance applications from qualified small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses.
The Federal Government has created the Employee Retention Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50 percent of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021.
The Federal Reserve established the Main Street Lending Program to enhance support for small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the crisis by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion.
The coronavirus is causing financial difficulties for businesses across the U.S. Here is a complete listing of all of our coronavirus resources for small businesses. One way or another, coronavirus has likely impacted your business — for better or worse. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been busy creating content to help you through this challenging time. It is organized here by category to help you easily navigate through it all.
Digital.com has compiled this comprehensive business loan guide to assist small businesses and startups find the best business loans for their situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NY Forward has information outlining the regionally and industry-based reopening process. Western New York businesses can consult resources on the site to prepare for reopening. We recommend using the Reopen Tool Lookup through which businesses can input their County and NAICS code to determine whether or not they are eligible to reopen, and the public health and safety standards with which they must comply.
Reopen Buffalo enables businesses and consumers to see critical reopened business information, including hours of operation, services offered, contact information, etc. Additionally, Reopen Buffalo serves as a communication tool between businesses and City Hall, providing businesses with the latest information about the COVID-19 emergency and the City of Buffalo’s response to adequately restore economic activity swiftly and responsibly.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership (BNP) has launched the Keep Buffalo Niagara Working initiative to help you in planning to reopen your business as safely as possible while continuing to protect your employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reopening Guidance by Business Type
New York Forward: Food Service Guidelines for Employers and Employees
New York State Department of Health: Interim Guidance for Outdoor and Take-out/Delivery Food Services
New York State Liquor Authority:
New York State Restaurant Association: COVID-19 Reopening Information and Resources
Streetsense: Pandemic Relaunch Toolkit
Barbershops and Salons
New York Forward: Hair Salon & Barbershop Guidelines for Employers and Employees
National Association of Barbers: How to Prepare to Return to Your Shop
Professional Beauty Association: Back-to-Work Guidelines
NYS Department of Health: Interim Guidance for Manufacturing Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Center for Disease Control and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Interim Guidance for Manufacturing Workers and Employees
New York Forward: Construction Guidelines for Employers and Employees
NYS Department of Health: Interim Guidance for Construction Activities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Occupation Health and Safety Administration: COVID-19 Construction Guidelines (Web Link)
Occupation Health and Safety Administration: COVID-19 Construction Guidelines (PDF)
New York Forward: Office-Based Work Guidelines for Employers and Employees
NYS Department of Health: Interim Guidance for Office-Based Work during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Center for Disease Control: COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings
Gyms and Fitness Centers
New York Forward: Gym and Fitness Center Guidelines for Employers and Employees
NYS Department of Health: Interim Guidance for Gyms and Fitness Centers during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic
FDA is sharing information about best practices to operate retail food stores, restaurants, and associated pick-up and delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard workers and consumers.