FAIRFIELD — The Kennebec Valley Council of Governments announced Tuesday it had received a $670,000 investment from the federal government that will be used to promote the regional economy and small business community during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds, distributed by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, have been made available through the CARES Act, and will expand KVCOG’s revolving loan fund.

The investment will also help mend the regional economy after the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This investment could not come at a better time for Maine and our region’s economy,” William Harper, KVCOG’s community resilience coordinator, wrote in a prepared statement.

“This expansion of our RLF (revolving loan fund) will allow KVCOG to address an economic gap in access to capital that our constituents continue to report to us in the wake of the coronavirus by allowing us to provide funding to our small business community to relieve some immediate concerns and address the new realities of doing business in the midst of a pandemic.”

The funding is “intended to help start-ups, as well as existing small and mid-sized businesses with growth, expansion, investment in equipment and facilities, or opportunities to pivot in the face of the pandemic,” according to KVCOG officials.

The funds can be used in a variety of ways, including investing in an online store, improving a website, expanding online presence, renovating or expanding facilities and buying or replacing equipment that could increase productivity.

“With this new loan program, KVCOG will provide technical assistance to help you navigate this program and identify other important resources to help your business remain resilient through the current pandemic or other hardships that may come your way in future,” Robyn Stanicki, also a community resilience coordinator with KVCOG, wrote in the prepared statement.

In addition to the investment from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, KVCOG has partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration to launch the Resiliency Series, aimed at promoting different aspects of resiliency throughout central Maine. The program is also funded by the federal Economic Development Administration.

This first virtual session in the series is titled “Help My Business Now!” It is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

“We’re enthusiastic about hosting this new series and beginning with an introduction to our new CARES Act RLF, in conjunction with information from our expert partner at SBA, is the perfect way to launch our new Resiliency Series,” Stanicki said.

“Resiliency is an important topic for Maine and our region right now, and we are excited by the chance to offer this relevant information and an entirely new funding source for our region now.”

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