ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For small business owners who need help building back a strong workplace, state leaders have some crucial information thanks to new bills put into law. The goal is pursuing mental and economic health in the post pandemic era.

“I am looking to find out if there’s resources for me to expand my business and offer the services I’m trying to bring,” psychiatrist Lorna Bush stated. “Specifically, I offer ketamine assistance psychotherapy. It’s not being offered in many clinics, so I am trying to start it off as my own kind of business.” 

Thanks to the CARES Act feeding into the New York State Small Business Recovery Grant, employers have the chance for financial relief if they employ under 100 people and can demonstrate at least a 25% loss of gross in 2020.

“When the gyms shut down, it took a very heavy mental toll on me,” Focus Fit CEO Sheree Woody said. “I wasn’t able to do the things that control my mental anxiety that help me with my mental health.” 

State Sen. Samra Brouk and Assemblymember Sarah Clark held a town hall about how small businesses across the area can use those resources to get back on their feet. The room was filled with New York entrepreneurs who want to support the economy despite the toll on mental wellbeing and bank accounts.

“Cost of material has actually impacted the construction industry,” explained Jessie Woody, a Monroe County-area contract manager. “Material has gone up astronomical. Used to cost me maybe $9 to $10 a sheet for a piece or OSB, but now it’s costing over $55 a sheet.”

“We put $1 billion towards small business recovery and so we’ll be talking about programs like that,” Sen. Brouk said. She said that counties, cities, and municipalities all “have programs all small business owners can tap into.” Those include the restaurant return to work tax credit offering $5,000 per new worker hired. Business management consultants also offer counseling through workshops for aspiring and current business owners, or mental health services through area hospitals and government.  

Contacts and details about grants and services are available through the Empire State Development Department which you can access online.