PIVOT Program Assists More than 1,000 Local Businesses
The Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives announced today that it has awarded more than $16,000,000 in PIVOT grant funds to 1,016 Fairfax County businesses adversely affected by the pandemic. Businesses in the most hard-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.
More than 78% of the businesses receiving grants were woman, minority and/or veteran- owned businesses. Among business owners, 69% identified as minority-owned, 44% are women-owned, and 3% are veteran-owned. The average revenue loss between 2019 and 2020 reported by grant recipients was 40%. Businesses currently have an average of 6 employees, with the highest average among hotels, which averaged 23 employees. Retail accounted for 51% 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.
“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. Our goal is to provide businesses with the support to be resilient and to absorb both the current and future economic shocks. 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,” said Jeffrey McKay, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
PIVOT was 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.
In early 2021, Fairfax County and the Fairfax County 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.
The Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives (DEI) leads programs and initiatives to foster economic development and position Fairfax County to be an economically competitive and prosperous community for all. DEI delivers innovative solutions to cultivate a diverse and thriving local business base, facilitate development through public-private partnerships that address strategic priorities, and foster an entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem within the County and the region, building on competitive economic strengths.