The city of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) launched the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund on Monday, a $9 million-plus grant and loan program to support struggling and barely afloat businesses in the city.

The fund is designed to help businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue meet payroll and save jobs threatened by the spread of the virus.

In addition, the city announced it is pushing back the the filing and payment dates for real estate taxes and some business taxes. For commercial and residential property owners unable to pay property tax by March 31, the Department of Revenue has extended the deadline 30 days. The due date for 2020 real estate taxes is now April 30.

The deadline to apply for an installment plan to pay 2020 property taxes was also extended to April 30.

The city will honor the federal extensions granted to businesses from the IRS for filing and payments until July 15 for the business income and receipts tax and the net profits tax. This policy includes estimated payments.

Jessica Calter, a communications executive with PIDC, said the new small-business relief fund will give priority to businesses that have lost more than half their revenue and have a recovery plan and a commitment to retaining their employees "as long as possible.”

In addition to the $9 million commitment of city and PIDC funds, the Daniel B. and Florence E. Green Foundation donated an additional $250,000.

“We are acutely aware of the potentially devastating impact that the spread of COVID-19 is having on small businesses in Philadelphia and around the country,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “These businesses are the backbone of our city’s economy, and this fund will help some of our small businesses survive the COVID-19 crisis while also retaining as many jobs for workers as possible.”

“With this new fund, we are sending a message to entrepreneurs and small-business owners across Philadelphia, and to the many people who rely on these employers for their livelihood, that we will do all that we can to support them during this unprecedented crisis,” said Anne Bovaird Nevins, PIDC president. “Our team stands ready to put these much-needed resources to work and help as many people as we can as quickly as possible.”

The new fund will be a tiered program providing targeted support for small businesses. The tiers include:

  • Micro-enterprise grants — $5,000 per business for businesses with less than $500,000 in annual revenue.
  • Small-business grants — up to $25,000 per business for businesses with annual revenue between $500,000 and $3 million.
  • Small-business zero-Interest loans — up to $100,000 per business for businesses with annual revenue between $3 million and $5 million.

“Philadelphia’s business community has been severely impacted, and we must do everything in our power to ensure that capital continues to flow to small businesses during this critical time,” said Sylvie Gallier Howard, the city’s acting commerce director. “Acting quickly will help get businesses the funding they need to continue operations and preserve jobs.”

Businesses can apply for fund assistance at www.phila.gov/COVID-19-business-relief. There is one application for all three tiers of the fund, and it is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Once final application materials are received, the decision and disbursement process is expected to take about two weeks, Calter said.

The fund offers a mix of new grants and zero-interest loans for eligible businesses. Business owners should complete the online application and will be required to submit some financial information, depending on the program.

The PIDC will continue to offer its existing lending programs for small and midsize businesses on flexible terms to provide working capital, pay for contract receivables, refinance high-interest debt, and meet other needs. All applicants to the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Program can also be considered for additional flexible financing from the PIDC. Those with existing loans are also eligible for this relief.

Businesses are also eligible to apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans and can do so here.