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Business Assistance & Resources

Business Assistance & Resources

Businesses across the City of Worcester, especially small businesses, have been impacted by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemmic. To help lessen the strain, businesses can take advantage of a variety of local, state and federal assistance programs and grants.

Re-Opening Worcester - Temporary Outdoor Dining Program

Restaurant Tables and Chairs Setup and Empty Outdoors

To provide safer dining options for residents and support the restaurant community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Worcester has implemented a Temporary Outdoor Dining Program. The Temporary Outdoor Dining program establishes an expedited permitting process through which restaurants are able to offer expanded outdoor dining options.

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Business Continuity Resources

If you are an employer in Central Massachusetts and have an immediate need to fill critical positions, the MassHire Central Region Workforce Board can connect you with those looking for employment.

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Small Business Assistance

Numerous Federal, State and Local programs and policy changes have been introduced to provide small business assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. To reach the City's Economic Development Office staff, email development@worcesterma.gov

Microloan Suspension

The City of Worcester is suspending until further notice all Microloan payments due to the City for small businesses within the City of Worcester that have participated in our microloan program.

U.S. Small Business Administration

The CARES Act and American Rescue Plan have established several new temporary COVID-19 Relief options to address business disruption due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more about the programs below:

  • Paycheck Protection Program - Notice: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ended on May 31, 2021. Existing borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. To learn more about PPP loan forgiveness, visit the SBA Website.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan & Emergency $10,000 Grant - Businesses applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan can now request a $10,000 loan advance for emergency, temporary relief. The $10,000 loan advance will not have to be repaid. Application deadline is currently November 30, 2023.
  • SBA Debt Relief - The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months. The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
  • SBA Express Bridge Loans - Allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can be term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan.

Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act

American Rescue Plan

  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund - Restaurants and other eligible food related businesses can apply for funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023. Applications for this program are ongoing.
  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grant – This program is providing $16 billion in grants for Live venue operators; theatrical producers; live performing arts organization operators; relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria; motion picture theater operators; talent representatives and each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements. Applications for this program are ongoing.

Commonwealth of MA - Administrative Tax Relief

The Baker-Polito Administration announced state tax relief to support businesses. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.

Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and business that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.

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COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Program

The City of Worcester (City) established the COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Grant in two rounds at the onset of the pandemic to assist in the stabilization of existing small businesses within the City of Worcester that had significant business disruption due to the impact of COVID-19. These grant funds assisted small business in the City of Worcester to cover wages, rent, loss of inventory and other fixed costs. Grants awards ranged from $5,000 - $10,000 per business.

Program Metrics

  • In total, the City successfully disbursed approximately $1.9 million to 271 local businesses.
  • Of the 271 businesses, 59% were minority-owned and 43% were women-owned.
  • 25% of businesses awarded were close contact personal services, 22% were retail businesses and 22% were food establishments.
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Translation Assistance

The City's grant staff speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Albanian and Portuguese. The City also has access to translation assistance for additional languages. Please email a request for assistance to development@worcesterma.gov.

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