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State, New Castle County will offer $100 million in grants to small business, nonprofits

Damian DeStafano of the Division of Small Business said businesses need a variety of ways to get help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of Delaware and New Castle County have launched a new program that will offer $100 million in relief grants to small businesses and nonprofits across the state who have been affected by COVID-19.

The DE Relief Grants program will be funded by some of the state’s and county’s share of money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Delaware Division of Small Business director Damian DeStefano said during Gov. John Carney’s weekly press conference about COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon that the fund would be “at least” $100 million, but will be re-evaluated if the need is higher than anticipated.

The program is expected to reach more than 3,000 small businesses and nonprofit organizations with grants ranging from $30,000 to $100,000, a press release from Carney said.

The Division of Small Business will be taking applications in early September at delbiz.com/relief.  Funding rounds will follow in October and November.

The site is live now, he said, and the division will be hosting online webinars about how to apply. DeStafano recommended that business owners and nonprofits sign up now in order to be alerted by the webinars.

The program is designed to reimburse people for changes required by COVID-19 or who want to make changes because of it, DeStafano said.

The grants can be used for:

  • Purchasing equipment to make a workplace suitable for COVID-19 safety (such as PPE, plexiglass, air purifiers, etc.) 
  • Refinancing of debt incurred due to COVID-19 (including State of Delaware HELP loans) 
  • Advertising efforts undertaken as a result of COVID-19 
  • Fixed expenses the applicant accrued during COVID-19 

The size of the relief grant will be based up the business or nonprofit’s 2019 revenue: 

  • $0-$500,000: Up to $30,000 
  • $500,000-$1 million: Up to $50,000  
  • $1 million-$2.5 million: Up to $72,500  
  • $2.5+ million: Up to $100,000  

“Multiple programs are necessary to address the challenges Delaware’s small businesses face,” DeStefano said in the press release. “We believe this assistance, coupled with other efforts, including the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) and the COVID-19 Customer Protection Standards, help make the difference for some of our small businesses.” 

“DE Relief Grants are a welcome commitment by the state to help support our small business community and the valuable jobs they offer to so many Delawareans,” said Carrie Leishman, President & CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association. “The effects of the pandemic have and continue to hit the food services industry particularly hard. While no single effort is a panacea, this program will certainly help restaurants as they work to stabilize revenues while protecting the health and safety of customers and employees.” 

The Division of Small Business’ team of Regional Business Managers is available to help companies prepare their applications. Small businesses can connect with the manager for their part of the state at delbiz.com/contact. For more information on DE Relief Grants, go to delbiz.com/relief

This is a developing story. Check back for more.

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