New York state is providing $200 million in grant funding for small businesses that are in their earliest stages of development to help them gain a foothold in the post-pandemic economy.

Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced the applications for the grant funding can be accessed starting Wednesday.

"This first-in-the-nation Seed Funding Grant Program rounds out $1 billion in flexible funding to support both early-stage, and established small and micro-businesses," Hochul said. "New York businesses were among the hardest hit nationwide at the height of the pandemic, but with this funding, we're extending a lifeline to help them continue to grow and operate. Applications open tomorrow, and I encourage all New York business owners to take full advantage and be a part of New York's remarkable recovery."

The effort builds on an $800 million program meant to aid pandemic business recovery, sending out $639 million to more than 35,000 small businesses since it launched.

Economic development officials are expanding that program to include more small businesses by ending the requirement businesses must show a 25% loss in gross annual receipts. Funding is expected to wind down for the program by the end of the month.

"The pandemic has had profound impacts on our economy and our small and micro businesses were among the hardest hit, especially in New York State," Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said. "Supporting our State's small businesses has been a priority of Governor Hochul's administration and the steps taken to expand eligibility and get funding out the door has helped countless businesses stay on track. The $800 million Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program and now the new Seed Funding Grant Program marks unprecedented support for New York State's small businesses and for our economic success moving forward."