Fairfax County awards $16.8 million in PIVOT support grants to 1,016 small businesses
The Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives announced yesterday that it awarded more than $16.8 million in PIVOT grant funds to 1,016 Fairfax County businesses adversely affected by the pandemic.
Businesses in the hardest-hit sectors of the Fairfax County economy, including hotel, food service, retail and personal services, and arts and culture industries, were targeted and received grants between $1,500 and $207,000. The goal of the program was to help those businesses continue their recovery by providing needed capital for ongoing operations.
PIVOT is the third business recovery program instituted by Fairfax County. Previous programs included the microloan program in April 2020 and the RISE Grant program in June 2020. In total these three programs have distributed more than $70 million to the Fairfax County business community to respond to the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Woman-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses targeted
More than 78 percent of the businesses receiving PIVOT grants were woman, minority and/or veteran- owned businesses. Among business owners, 69 percent identified as minority-owned, 44 percent are women-owned, and 3 percent are veteran-owned.
“We know that the impacts to our community of this pandemic will last for years, that is why we have to continue to implement programs and opportunities to support our recovery and build a more resilient community,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay.
“Our goal is to provide businesses with the support to be resilient and to absorb both the current and future economic shocks,” McKay said. “It’s the key to future growth. In response we instituted a three-pronged approach to helping our small businesses – stabilization with the RISE grant and microloan programs, return to health with the PIVOT grants, and our next program, Fairfax THRIVE, will focus on growth and getting businesses to the next level.”
The average revenue loss between 2019 and 2020 reported by grant recipients was 40 percent. Businesses currently have an average of six employees, with the highest average among hotels, which averaged 23 employees. Retail accounted for 51 percent of the funds distributed. A breakdown of PIVOT grant awards by funding type, industry sector and geographic location is available on the 2021 PIVOT Business Recovery Grant Program dashboard.
“Fairfax County has gone to unprecedented lengths to help its small business community bridge the economic turbulence created by the pandemic, and the Economic Development Authority is proud to market initiatives such as the PIVOT program to help this important part of our economy,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
Economic Recovery Framework adopted
In early 2021, Fairfax County and the Economic Development Authority commissioned an Economic Recovery Framework that illustrated the county lost an estimated 48,200 jobs (through December 2020) and employment losses and economic impacts were heavily concentrated in food service, health care and social assistance, hospitality, and retail sectors. The vast majority of job losses took place in industries with lower average wages and higher representation of people of color. The Framework provides a “road map” for economic recovery which was used to target PIVOT grants.
“Responding to the needs of our business community is critically important to the well-being of workers, families, and communities throughout Fairfax County. Utilizing the resources from the American Rescue Plan Act to provide support will have positive ripple effects through our local economy. I’m pleased that so many business owners took advantage of this opportunity,” said Supervisor John Foust, Chair of the Economic Initiatives Committee.