ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Small business owners in Monroe County now have a chance to get a headstart, or a step up following the pandemic.

Monroe County and partnering agencies unveiled the “MicroAdvantage Small Business Loan Program” Wednesday. You can apply here. The funding comes from American Rescue Plan Act.

Qualifying small businesses can receive loans from $10,000 to $50,000 dollars. The total pool of funding is $5.8 million and is distributed by Monroe County Industrial Development Corp (MCIDC).

Director of Planning and Development of Monroe County, Ana Liss, laid out some of the qualifications on Wednesday during a press conference.

“25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, no more than $4 million in annual revenues, so (we’re) really looking to target those micro enterprises,” she said. “The funds can be used for working capital, you can apply, and we can connect you to resource partners to develop your business plan and get ready to fill out the application itself.”

COMIDA and MCIDC say that following findings from the RASE Commission, $800,000 of the funds will be earmarked for women and minority-owned businesses.

“Minority and women-owned business enterprises, service and disabled veteran-owned enterprises represent close to 25% of the small businesses in Monroe County,” said Hanif Abdul-Wahid, the president of the board at MCDIC. “During the pandemic, average business earning dropped between 10% to 15% for minority or women-owned business enterprise, and just 2% for non-minority businesses.”

The County held its first “Small Business Assistance Open House” Wednesday at 50 W. Main Street. They hope it will be the first of many.