Luzerne County is pleased to open the application process for its Luzerne County Small Business Sustainability Grant Program.
One-time, $5,000 grant awards will be distributed to successful applicants that meet all eligibility requirements. Grants must be used for expenses related to supporting ongoing business operations including: Payroll and/or employee benefits; Mortgage or rent payments; Utility, inventory or equipment costs; Other operating costs; and/or Technical assistance, counseling, or other services to support business planning.
The goal of this program is to help mitigate the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses, keep their doors open, protect local jobs, support community economic recovery, and increase resiliency across Luzerne County.
The application process is straightforward to encourage all eligible businesses in Luzerne County to apply.
The intention of this program is to distribute grant funds of $5,000 to eligible businesses with less than 20 Full Time Equivalent Employees. Businesses with 20 or more Full Time Employees may be eligible for up to $10,000 as funding allows. All applicants, regardless of size or entity type, must complete the Applicant Information and Attestation Form below to be considered for funding.
This program is being administered for Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, by the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Greater Hazleton and Greater Wyoming Valley Chambers of Commerce.
This grant is open to Small Businesses that meet the following criteria:
Is a for-profit business based in and currently operating in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. It may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, S-corporation, C-corporation, or limited liability company.
Employs fewer than 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. Only employees receiving W-2s can be included in the count. 1099 contractors cannot be included. Click here to find details on how an FTE is defined in the Frequently Asked Questions section.
Is independently owned and operated
Was fully operational prior to December 31, 2019
Has less than $15 million in annual gross revenues
Can attest the business experienced a negative economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic environment that followed. A business experienced a negative economic impact if the business experienced decreased revenues or gross receipts, financial insecurity, increased operational costs, reduced capacity to weather financial hardship or challenges covering payroll, rent/mortgage, and other operating costs.
Can attest that the business and all business owners, managing partners/members and/or officers, are current on all business and personal federal, state and local taxes, and have not been convicted of any financial crimes within the past five (5) years
Can attest the business is not suspended or debarred from the use of federal funds
This grant opportunity is not open to:
For profit businesses approved for American Rescue Plan Act funding from Luzerne County in 2023
Home-based multi-level marketing, rideshare, or other similarly structured businesses, gig workers or independent contractors
Passive businesses generating passive income
Ready to Apply?
Complete the Applicant Information and Attestation Form below to begin.
Please note: Completion of the Applicant Information and Attestation Form below does not in any way imply or guarantee that an application will be approved or funded. Eligibility criteria may change without notice and all funding decisions are final.
Have More Questions?
Jump to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section for more information.
Applicant Information and Attestation Form
Please read all grant requirements below. If the business meets all eligibility for this grant, complete the screening form and attestation confirmation. Completing the form should take just a few minutes. One of our team members will review each submission, and the applicant will receive an email detailing next steps within fourteen (14) business days.
To move forward in the process, the applicant must understand, agree and attest to the following:
The business was operational before December 31, 2019
The business is currently operating in Luzerne County, PA with intentions to remain operational into the foreseeable future
The business employs less than 50 total full-time equivalent (FTE) employees
The business is in good standing and current on all local, state and federal employment, income, and property taxes
The business owner(s) and/or any of its corporate officers or principals have not been convicted of a federal crime in the past five (5) years
The business owner and/or any of its corporate officers or principals are current on all personal federal, state, and local taxes
The business experienced a negative economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic environment that followed
The business has not been approved for American Rescue Plan Act funding from Luzerne County in 2023
All grant funds will be used in accordance with program requirements
The applicant will be willing and able to provide the following documents:
2019 and 2022 tax returns (1040 with a Schedule-C, 1040-SR with a Schedule-C, 1065, 1120 or 1120-S)
Proof of Luzerne County business address (Examples: utility bill, property tax bill or receipt, insurance declaration page, invoice for equipment or inventory, bank statement, etc.)
Businesses with 20+ FTEs will also be required to submit 941s for the last 2 quarters to be considered for additional funding
The applicant agrees to record and document how grant funds were spent and be prepared to provide appropriate documentation if requested. Grant recipients will agree to maintain documents for up to five (5) years.
The individual completing the Applicant Information and Attestation Form is authorized to submit this application on behalf of the business
The individual completing this Applicant Information and Attestation Form agrees to receive correspondence from and communicate with grant administrators via firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants are encouraged to add email@example.com to their contacts or “safe senders” list as well as check Spam folders periodically after application submission to keep the process moving forward.
"Completing the application was really easy. I have never heard of for-profit businesses getting grants before but I'm glad I started this process to try. The extra funding would help a lot. Excited to see how it works out."
Restaurant Owner, City of Wilkes-Barre
Upcoming Informational Events
(computer access and document scanning)
315 Main Street
Mon – Fri: 8AM – 4PM
284 Wyoming Avenue
Kingston, PA 18704
Mon, Thurs: 12PM – 7PM
Tue, Wed, Fri: 9AM – 5PM
Sat: 9AM – 4PM
(technical support plus help with questions about the application)
Wilkes University Small Business Development Center
85 S Main Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Mon – Fri: 8:30AM – 4:30PM
1151 Oak Street
Pittston, PA 18640
Mon – Fri: 9AM – 4PM
Luzerne County Community College – Pittston Center
13 S Main Street
Pittston, PA 18640
Mon – Thurs: 9AM – 7:30PM
What is the process to receive funding? Applicants should review all grant eligibility requirements and gather all required documentation before starting the Applicant Information and Attestation Form. If they meet all requirements, they should complete the Applicant Information and Attestation Form on this website. Completed Applicant Information and Attestation Forms will be reviewed within fourteen (14) business days. If an applicant meets all pre-eligibility screening criteria, they will receive a link to a secure, shared folder along with detailed instructions to upload supplementary documentation. The link will be sent to eligible applicants no later than fourteen (14) business days following submission of the Applicant Information and Attestation Form. The link will be sent directly to the applicant’s email address from firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants should then upload all required documents. After all uploaded documents are reviewed, the applicant will receive a confirmation of completion OR a confirmation of non-eligibility no later than fourteen (14) business days following document upload. Complete applications will be reviewed over a period of 60-90 days with priority consideration to businesses operating in qualified census tracts and disadvantaged business enterprises (Minority owned, Woman owned and Veteran owned). Successful applicants will then receive a grant agreement package with full program details, terms and conditions. They will authorize the agreement to use all funding in accordance with the program. After the agreement is fully executed, successful applicants will receive the grant funds via a direct deposit to their bank account. Applicants must keep a record of how the grant funds were spent and be prepared to submit any validating documentation to the funder if requested. Records must be kept for 5 (five) years.
What types of businesses are eligible? For profit businesses based in and currently operating in Luzerne County with up to 50 FTEs and less than $15 million in annual revenues are eligible and encouraged to apply. Applicants must be able and willing to provide all required documentation and meet all eligibility requirements, which can be found on this website. A business’s financial position does not play into any funding decision or grantee selection.
What does it mean to be based in Luzerne County? A business that is based in Luzerne County files federal tax returns using a Luzerne County address.
What does it mean to be “operational” or “currently operating”? A business is considered “operational” when, on their federal tax return, they report a positive amount of gross receipts or sales (line 1 on a 1040 Schedule C or line 1a on 1120, 1120S or 1065) AND show corresponding business expenses (line 28 on a 1040 Schedule C or line 27 on 1120, 1120S or line 21 on 1065.) A business is considered “currently operating” when they can show positive business sales related deposits AND corresponding business expenses on their most recent business bank statement.
What is an FTE? A Full-Time Equivalent or FTE is a unit of measurement to figure out the number of full-time hours worked by all employees in a business. If a business considers 40 hours to be a full-time workweek, then an employee working 40 hours per week would have an FTE of 1.0. In contrast, a part-time employee working only 20 hours per week would have an FTE of 0.5—which shows that their hours worked are equivalent to half of a full-time employee. For example, two part-time 0.5 FTEs will count as 1.0 total FTE when calculating for this grant. If you need assistance calculating the number of FTEs, the following Chambers can provide assistance: Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce at 570-823-2101, Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce at 570-655-1424, or Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce at 570-455-1509, ext. 101. For the purposes of this grant, contractors receiving 1099s should not be included in the total employee count.
What does it mean to be independently owned and operated? Independently owned and operated refers to a business that independently manages and controls the day-to-day operations of the business through its ownership and management. It cannot be a subsidiary of another organization.
What types of businesses are not eligible? This grant opportunity is not open to non-profits; for profit businesses that already received funding from Luzerne County via the ARPA program; home-based multi-level marketing, rideshare, or other similarly structured businesses, gig workers or independent contractors; Passive businesses generating passive income.
Why are home-based multi-level marketing, rideshare and other similarly structured businesses not eligible for this grant? These businesses sell products or services through person-to-person sales, selling directly to other people, from home, a customer’s home or online via an app. As it relates to this grant, the person selling these products and services acts as an independent contractor and not as an independently owned and operated business and as such would not generate operational expenses that would be eligible under these grant guidelines.
Why are gig workers and independent contractors excluded from this grant? Gig workers and independent contractors typically do freelance or short term work for multiple clients and are typically engaged on an informal or on-demand basis. Income is usually reported via a 1099 form and as it relates to this grant, is not an independently owned and operated business and as such would not generate operational expenses that would be eligible under these grant guidelines.
What is passive income? Passive income includes earnings from rental property, limited partnership, or other businesses in which a person is minimally involved or requires minimal effort to obtain. This income is reported on 1040 Schedule E, form 8825 or through a K-1. For the purposes of this grant, businesses in which a majority of the overall gross income is generated by passive income are not eligible to receive funding.
Why are you asking for 2019 and 2022 tax returns? Tax returns will be used to validate a business’s operational status before, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic as well as its eligibility for funding under these guidelines. Gross revenue comparisons are not a factor in determining if a business’s application will or will not be approved.
What does it mean to “experience a negative economic impact” and will a business have to describe or show any hardship was experienced as a result of COVID-19? A business experienced a negative economic impact if the business experienced any of the following: • Decreased revenues or gross receipts • Financial insecurity • Increased operational costs • Reduced capacity to weather financial hardship • Challenges covering payroll, rent/mortgage, and other operating costs A narrative description or proof of hardship or revenue loss is not required, but applicants will be required to attest via the Applicant Information and Attestation Form on this website that a negative economic impact was experienced.
When do applications close? Applications will be accepted on this website (www.luzernecountyready.org) on a rolling basis until June 7, 2024, or until all funding has been distributed to successful applicants. The first round of funding will likely be distributed in February 2024.
What organization is administering the grant and reviewing applications? This Luzerne County grant is administered through Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce; and Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce. Businesses DO NOT need to be members of any local Chamber to apply for this funding.
Will businesses need to re-pay any part of this grant? Successful grant recipients should be prepared to use the funding in accordance with program terms and conditions. Grant funds spent in accordance with the program terms and conditions will not need to be repaid. Successful grant recipients that fail to supply appropriate records of expenditures if requested, or who have spent grant proceeds in a manner that is not in accordance with program terms and conditions will be required to re-pay any distributed funds.
Where is the grant funding coming from? This one-time funding opportunity for Luzerne County is made possible through federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds. Pennsylvania counties, metropolitan cities, and local government units received a $6.15 billion allocation to support COVID-19 response efforts, replace lost revenue, support economic stabilization for households and businesses, and address systemic public health and economic challenges.
My/Our business is based outside of Luzerne County but we operate a location in Luzerne County. Does this location qualify? No. Only businesses based in Luzerne County are eligible for funding. Businesses owned and operated outside of Luzerne County are not eligible.
My business is a franchise. Is it eligible? If a franchise business is independently owned and operated, it is eligible to apply. If a franchise is corporately owned, it is not eligible to apply.
What counts as an eligible expense? Expenses incurred between March 28, 2023 and June 30, 2024 are eligible for reimbursement. Grants must be used for expenses related to supporting ongoing business operations including: Payroll and/or employee benefits; Mortgage or rent payments; Utility, inventory or equipment costs; Other operating costs; and/or Technical assistance, counseling, or other services to support business planning. Payroll and benefit expenses must only include W-2 employees. Mortgage or rent payments do not include insurance or tax payments. Utilities costs may include any monthly or quarterly bills to utility suppliers. Inventory costs include the cost of supplies necessary to make and deliver your product to your customer. Equipment costs include one time purchases of items necessary to operate your business like technology equipment, communication and security equipment, tools, safety equipment and specialty equipment related to your business. 2022 Tax forms must demonstrate a MINIMUM of $5,000 of eligible expenses to be considered for funding. Questions about the use of eligible funds should be directed to email@example.com.
What does NOT count as an eligible expense? Costs incurred prior to March 28, 2023, or after June 30, 2024, cannot be accrued as an eligible expense under this grant. Additionally, loss that bears no relation or is grossly disproportionate to the type or extent of harm experienced due to the pandemic; payment of non-business expenses (e.g., personal credit cards, family car, home mortgage or repairs); direct financing to political activities; religious activities, such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization and/or those that promote or inhibit religious interest; economic hardship incurred for reasons other than the pandemic; costs previously covered by alternate federal, state, or local grant funding; payment of delinquent federal debt, fines or federal or state taxes;legal settlements; workforce bonuses other than hazard pay or overtime, deposits to pension funds, or severance pay; damage covered by insurance; reimbursement to donors for donated items or services; purchase of drugs, tobacco, or alcohol; food and entertainment; bonuses; and non-business travel are also not considered eligible expenses.
If my business has already received COVID-19 funding in the past, am I still eligible to apply? Yes.
Is this grant taxable? Yes. If your application is approved, a 1099G will be issued to you after grant proceeds are disbursed.
How is submitted applicant information handled? Is this process secure? Applicant information will be handled with the utmost confidentiality. Data and documents will be uploaded and housed to secure servers and sensitive data will be deleted immediately after funding is disbursed. Any requests from grant administrators will come from a firstname.lastname@example.org email address. Do not respond to any messages or upload any application data pertaining to this grant if it is requested by an individual or entity other than email@example.com.
What is a NAICS code? How does a business know their NAICS code? The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. If an applicant is unsure of their NAICS code, they should visit https://www.naics.com/search.
What about businesses that don’t meet the criteria? While the eligibility criteria for this grant is deliberately broad, with a goal to distribute funding to as many Luzerne County businesses as possible, this grant program must adhere to all federal distribution guidelines outlined under the ARPA program. If your business does not meet the criteria for this grant but you would like assistance in seeking funding or support for your business, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions about the process?
Infusing federal resources into our local small businesses infrastructure is vital for the economic wellbeing of Luzerne County. Every effort is being made to administer the County’s allocated ARPA Funds in a fair and compliant manner that meets all federal distribution requirements.
Applicants are encouraged to share this website and application link with colleagues, family or friends who own businesses that meet eligibility criteria.
Resources and Quick Links: