Wondering what’s available to businesses in 2021?

Return to Earn program from Virginia Career Works
Small businesses with fewer than 100 employees may be able to receive matching funds for the payment of bonuses to new hires. Eligible businesses can receive up to $500 per worker when they provide a matching amount as a hiring incentive. Please read the requirements for eligibility. *No match required from eligible childcare providers.

The SBA offers several different relief options to help businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

PPP First Draw Loans: If you have not received a PPP loan before, First Draw PPP Loans may be available to you. Note: PPP ended on May 31, 2021.

PPP Second Draw Loans: If you have previously received PPP loan, certain businesses are eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan. Note: PPP ended on May 31, 2021.

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): This loan provides economic relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.

Restaurant Revitalization Grant (RRG):
Restaurants impacted by the economic fallout of COVID-19 are eligible for a grant up to $10 million to cover eligible expenses going back to February 15, 2020Forms required include:

Learn more and Apply today!

Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG): This loan will be available on April 8, 2021 to eligible entities including live venue operators or promoter, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museums, zoos, aquariums, talent representative, etc. Must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020. For more details about eligibility, visit this website, or watch this video to learn more.

The Business Development Centre in Lynchburg has loan funds available to help small businesses.

Business Development Centre Loan Fund: Loans range from $1,000 to $35,000 for independently owned businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Venture for Enterprising Women Loan Program: Loans range from $1,000 to $35,000 for independently women owned businesses with 51% majority ownership and 50 or fewer employees.

January 14, 2021
State opens COVID-19 vaccinations for Virginians 65 and older.
 Read more

Need to know more about getting your employees vaccinated? Visit the Virginia Department of Health website for more information.

Bedford County Business News from 2020

Back to Business Grant (Phase 1)
The Bedford County Office of Economic Development launched a $1 million Back to Business Grant Program on Monday, August 17, 2020, to assist Bedford County businesses that have experienced losses from COVID-19 closures. The grants were $5,000 each were provided to eligible small businesses on a first-come, first-served basis through December 8. This grant is now closed.

Back to Business Grant (Phase 2)
On October 26, the Bedford County Board of Supervisors  approved an expansion of the county’s Back to Business CARES Grant Program and was open from November 5 – December 8.  This new phase will assisted a wider range of businesses that experienced losses from pandemic closures or disruptions. This grant is now closed.

At its October 26 meeting, the Bedford County Board of Supervisors allocated the $250,000 previously set aside for other business support as part of the CARES act funding to now assist the local meat processing industry.  This grant has been depleted and is now closed.

Bedford County Non-Profit CARES Act Grant Program
The Bedford County Board of Supervisors announced on Aug. 27, 2020 the Bedford CountyNon-profit CARES Act Grant Programto support non-profit organizations recovering from the comprehensive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist with their expenses in response to COVID. The application can be accessedhere.

Direct assistance available to some county residents
Bedford County residents who have suffered income loss or reduction due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for up to $1,000 in CARES Act assistance through 3 non-profit organizations. Learn about eligibility requirements and apply here.

Other COVID-19 loans and grants
Are you needing assistance in determining what programs and loans are available during the COVID-19 crisis for your small business? Use the links below to access the various local, state and federal resources available. New information is added on a regular basis, so be sure to check back often.

CARES Act and Payroll Protection Plan
Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL)
The U.S. Small Business Administration has reopened its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to all small businesses after it had been closed to new applicants, except for agriculture-related companies, for more than a month.

The loans can be used to pay debts, payroll and other bills — including items not covered in the separate but popular $649 billion Paycheck Protection Program. The disaster loans are offered at a 3.75% interest rate for businesses and 2.75% interest rate for nonprofits.

The EIDL also comes with the chance to apply for a cash advance of up to $10,000. While the loans call for repayment, the cash advances need not be repaid, even for applicants who ultimately don’t receive a loan. However, while the loans are tax-free, the tax status of the advances remains unclear.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.Importantly, these PPP loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. Read the SBA’s most recent PPP Loan Frequently Asked Questions here.

The administration’s PPP program guidelines can be found at, and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s search tool to find a bank that offers PPP loans can be found at

President Trump signed into law sweeping changes to the Small Business Administration‘s Paycheck Protection Program on June 5, making the program’s lending terms more favorable to restaurants, retailers and other businesses.

One of the more-notable elements of the new law, known as the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, is that it extends the “covered period” under which small businesses can spend loan proceeds from eight weeks to 24 weeks, or until Dec. 31. The changes could provide a new opportunity for businesses to apply for the program if they didn’t think it was a good fit for them previously.

PPP Loan Forgiveness
To apply for forgiveness of your Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, you (the Borrower) must complete the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application as directed, and submit it to your Lender (or the Lender that is servicing your loan). Borrowers may also complete this application electronically through their Lender.

SBA Express Bridge Loans

  • Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
  • These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan.
  • If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Resources

Agriculture Business Assistance

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to provide direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. CFAP will provide vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs. Visit the CFAP website to learn more.
  • Producers can continue to apply for farm loans and get their current loans serviced. Farm loans are critical for annual operating and family living expenses, emergency needs, and cash flow in challenging times like now.USDA’s Farm Service Agency is relaxing the loan-making process and adding flexibility for servicing direct and guaranteed loans to provide credit to producers in need. More information is available on
  • Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has statewide staff who promote agriculture, consumer protection & the environment including grant programs for Agriculture-related enterprises:

SBA is accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses.The new eligibility is made possible as a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Agricultural businesses includes those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).
  • SBA is encouraging all eligible agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees wishing to apply to begin preparing their business financial information needed for their application.

At this time, only agricultural business applications will be accepted due to limitations in funding availability and the unprecedented submission of applications already received. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will process these applications without the need for re-applying.

Eligible agricultural businesses may apply for the Loan Advance here.

State Resources

  • Rebuild! VA Grant
    The Commonwealth launched a new grant program for small businesses and nonprofits called Rebuild VA. The program will provide grants of up to 3 times the applicant’s average monthly eligible expenses up to a maximum award of $10,000. The application is now available.These grants are aimed at assisting small businesses and non-profits that have faced economic distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible entities include those in the following industry sectors: restaurant and beverage service, non-essential retail, exercise and fitness, personal care and personal grooming, entertainment and public amusement, private campgrounds, and overnight summer camps.This statewide program is capitalized with $70 million, which means we will be able to assist approximately 7,000 businesses. Half of the proceeds will be directed toward small businesses and nonprofits located in economically disadvantaged areas, including ensuring adequate representation of women-owned and minority-owned businesses.More details about the program, including eligibility criteria, may be found on this flier or by visiting
  • Small Business Development Center- Review Reopen Recover Plan
    The Virginia SBDC Network staff is located throughout the state and is capable and able to meet with you virtually (phone, web conferencing) to assist with your questions. They offer confidential, no-cost technical assistance to help create a strategy specific to your business needs. Visit their website to find an Advisor near you and to learn some immediate implementable tips to Review, Reopen and Recover.
  • Virginia Career Works
  • The Virginia Career Works has information for employees and employers in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This includes details about filing for unemployment insurance, FAQs, OSHA guidance on preparing your workplace, and other community resources. Visit the Virginia Career Works website for more information.
  • Virginia Employment Commission
    If you have been affected by the economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, visit call 1-866-832-2363. You will need to have the following things ready to file an unemployment claim: Social Security #, accurate employer information for ALL employers worked for during the last 18 months (name, address, phone number, dates of employment); bank account number and routing number (to receive payment by direct deposit.)

If you’ve lost your job in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, efforts are being made to help. Access to unemployment benefits — which vary by state but usually cover around 45% of your typical pay — has been greatly expanded, thanks to a new coronavirus relief package. Look at these resources from Money Geek to help you find out if you qualify for unemployment benefits during the outbreak.

Individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 filers, and other workers not covered under the Virginia Employment Compensation Act (certain religious institutions, non-profits, farm owners) may apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will be retroactive to the week ending March 28 or the date after the time that your employment ceased or your business closed in compliance with Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53. The duration for PUA is up to 39 weeks.
  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) $600 a week supplement to PUA will be retroactive to the week ending April 4 and payable through July 25, 2020 as long as you remain eligible for PUA during that time.

You will need to supply proof of 2019 wages and self-attest that your business closed or employment ceased due to COVID-19. For more information visit the VEC website.

  • Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program

Governor Ralph Northam announced the adoption of Statewide Emergency Workplace Safety Standardsin response to COVID-19. Review the new mandates for workplace safety, prevention, screening, guidance for an epidemic policy/program, implementing workplace controls, and PPE.

      • Virginia 30 Day Fund
      • Virginia 30 Day Fund, launched by a tech entrepreneur, provides 30-day loans to small businesses waiting for federal funds. Businesses must employ between 3-30 people, be based in Virginia and operating for at least one year, and owned and operated by a Virginia resident. Businesses do not need to repay the loans, although they are encouraged to “pay it forward” to another Virginia small business by repaying the Fund. The application is designed to be completed in 10 minutes or less, and approval takes place within three days, with funds transferred immediately.

Local Resources

Bedford County, along with these local organizations are providing great information to support local businesses: