State announces grant program for entities affected by COVID-19

WILMINGTON — Gov. John Carney, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and the Delaware Division of Small Business on Wednesday announced a grant program of at least $100 million to assist Delaware small businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Funded through federal dollars allocated earlier this year in response to the pandemic, the DE Relief Grants program is expected to reach more than 3,000 small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Grants will range from $30,000 to $100,000.

The Division of Small Business is administering the program and will begin accepting applications in early September at delbiz.com/relief. 

“Delaware small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they have made considerable sacrifices during the COVID-19 crisis. We owe them our gratitude and support,” Gov. Carney said in a statement. “These relief grants will help Delaware small businesses begin the process of recovering and will help make investments necessary to create safer spaces for their customers and staff.”

DE Relief Grants can be used to buy equipment to make a workplace suitable for COVID-19 safety, to refinance debt incurred from the pandemic, to advertise efforts taken since the outbreak and to fix expenses accrued this spring and summer.

The Division of Small Business will begin accepting applications in early September and will follow with funding rounds in early October and November.

The size of the award will be based on the business or nonprofit’s 2019 revenue. Those who brought in less no more than $500,000 will get up to $30,000. Entities that collected more than $500,000 but less than $1 million can qualify for up to $50,000, and ones that brought in between $1 and $2.5 million will be eligible for up to $72,500. Businesses or nonprofits with revenues exceeding $2.5 million can receive a maximum of $100,000.

“I’ve seen small businesses across Delaware do some amazing things to adapt and stay afloat under the extraordinary circumstances of the last six months, but so many are hanging by a thread as the pandemic drags on,” Rep. Bill Bush, a Dover Democrat who chairs the House Economic Development, Banking and Insurance Committee, said in a statement. “This grant funding represents a lifeline that will help our small business community overcome the next phase of this crisis.”

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, visit delbiz.com/relief.

“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,” Carrie Leishman, president and CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association, said in a statement. “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.”