Northwest Commission Introduces U.S. EDA COVID-19 Relief Loan Fund


OIL CITY, PA – The Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission in Oil City has begun accepting applications for zero percent interest loans to small businesses in Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties. The loan fund was created from a grant awarded to the Northwest Commission through the U.S. Economic Development Administration CARES Act funding and will be used to provide critical gap financing to small businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This summer, the Northwest Commission was awarded $5 million in U.S. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding to capitalize and administer a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). Loan proceeds can be used to provide capital for operating expenses or acquisition of COVID-19 related machinery and equipment. Requested loan amounts can be between $5,000 and $500,000 with interest rates will be fixed at zero percent for the term of the loan and the first 12 payments deferred.

“EDA’s Economic Development Districts throughout the United States were invited to apply for additional RLF funds to specifically focus on small business COVID-19 recovery,” said Northwest Commission Executive Director Jill Foys. “Providing capital to small businesses quickly was very important to EDA and utilizing the existing EDDs was the best way to do that. The Northwest Commission’s Loan Program staff has worked closely with their Loan Review Committee and our Board of Directors to create a fund that meets the needs of our eight county region and we’re ready to get to work.”

To be eligible, small businesses must have been formed and operational at least nine months prior to applying. The application process has been streamlined and staff capacity added to administer the program. Some parameters of traditional EDA funding has been expanded, including 100-percent financing on projects. Loans will still need to meet credit worthiness and be properly collateralized.

To receive more information or to apply, please contact Jacob McCord-Wolbert, EDA loan specialist at Northwest Commission at 814/677-4800 Ext. 112 or at