November 18, 2021
During the pandemic, Montgomery County launched the MontcoStrong grant program to support local businesses as they adapted to the new normal.
To assess the impact, leaders behind the initiative commissioned a survey of those that received funding and found that it succeeded in sustaining a majority of them.
The survey discovered that 98% of the businesses who received money were still open and operating, and expected to remain open until at least the end 2021.
“As things started to slow down a bit, we actually initiated this study, and used Franklin and Marshall to conduct it so that we could get feedback from these business owners on whether or not this grant program had been helpful to them,” county Commissioner Chair Dr. Val Arkoosh told WHYY.
Nearly 900 of the 2,153 eligible businesses participated in the online and telephone surveys earlier this year.
The survey focused on three categories to determine the success of the participants: operating status, employment changes and revenue changes.
Three out of five of the recipients said that the MontcoStrong grants were extremely important in keeping their businesses open.
The study also found that the business' average cash on hand represents three months of operating expenses, the Times Herald reported.
MontcoStrong has so far allocated $42 million, and was created using funds from the CARES Act, with about 75% of the money going to the business sector and 25% going to nonprofits.
“These results are extremely encouraging, I thank our Commerce Department and the Redevelopment Authority for their quick review and disbursement of MontcoStrong grant funds to help our struggling businesses and nonprofits,” Arkoosh said. “Supporting our local economy has been one of our top priorities throughout this pandemic, which is why I am pleased to see such a strong rebound of our business and nonprofit sector.”