Businesses can still apply for Rebuild Berks Initiative funding | Business Weekly

The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, in partnership with the County of Berks, is continuing to provide resources to Berks County companies as the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are still ongoing. The Rebuild Berks Initiative, encourages Berks County businesses and consumers to shop and source local.

On Feb. 5, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law Act 1, which created the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP). This grant funds businesses that fall within the 721 (Accommodations) and 722 (Food Services and Drinking Places) North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). From the $145 million fund available statewide, Berks County received an allocation of $4.7 million. GRCA, through its affiliate organization the Greater Berks Development Fund, was designated by the county to administer the program. As the hospitality industry has been severely impacted over the past year, this funding is critical to the businesses who have had to navigate many obstacles to stay in operation.

The first round of the grant program opened on March 15 and closed on April 5. During that time 138 grant applications were received with requests of approximately $3.5 million. A second round will open at noon April 26 and will close at 5 p.m. May 17. Businesses that fall within one of the eligible NAICS codes are encouraged to apply. Information on CHIRP, its requirements and the application (available on April 26) can be found at

Free webinars

Sometimes the best things in life are free! GRCA is providing a series of free webinars to members and non-members to help them succeed and navigate the business challenges facing businesses in 2021. The business landscape has changed forever, and this is providing businesses with the opportunity to grow and position themselves for the future.

The webinars address key items relevant to businesses both large and growing. The first webinar on April 21, “Building a Bulletproof Business for Now and The Future,” reinforces the business dictum to not lose sight of your core initiatives that made you successful as the business landscape evolves.

To help employees continue to battle increased pressures both on the business and family fronts the second webinar, “Professional and Personal Stress Management in 2021” on April 22 addresses the importance of self-care for business professionals to avoid burnout and continue to excel in their professional and personal lives.

The third webinar on April 28, “Breaking Through Blind-Spots, Self-Sabotage and Avoidable Patterns,” directly confronts one of the most important challenges business leaders face today, how to recognize blind-spots and not to rely on what is comfortable or has worked in the past. This webinar helps show you how to recognize and capitalize on new paradigms to create sustainable, organizational growth.

The pace of technology continues to quicken, and on April 29, GRCA is delivering, “How to Increase Your Brand and Bottom Line with Video and Audio Tools.” Customers are using new channels to search for products and services and many businesses have reacted to new technological formats. In this webinar, you will learn how and why video trumps heavy text-laden formats in connecting with customers.

Simon Sinek states: “Confidence doesn’t come from knowing what will happen, but from knowing that, no matter what happens, you can adapt.” Through exploring and expanding your perceptions you position yourself and your business to what the future holds. GRCA recognizes the importance of exposing businesses leaders to new concepts and ways of being to help them navigate to a brighter future. Join us for these and future webinars that GRCA will be delivering through the end of May, please check for additional information.

Debra L. Millman, Esq., is vice president of development for the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance. Contact her at 610-376-6766 or