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calendar    Jun 03, 2024

Small Business Funding Programs In Rhode Island- 2024 Guide

Updated on June 2, 2024

Overview of Small Business Funding in Rhode Island

Rhode Island offers multiple funding opportunities to support small businesses. These programs aim to alleviate financial constraints and promote economic growth.

Grant Opportunities

The state provides a variety of grant programs. These are accessible to municipalities, non-profits, and other community partners. They offer much-needed financial support to the local business community.

Small Business Loans

The Small Business Loan Fund is another critical resource. It helps small enterprises gain access to financing, which is often a hurdle due to traditional liquidity requirements. This program supports businesses in maintaining and expanding operations.

COVID-19 Relief

In response to the pandemic, the RI Rebounds Small Business Grant Program was established. It offers grants of $2,500 or $5,000 to businesses affected financially by COVID-19. This initiative is instrumental in aiding economic recovery.

Recent Initiatives

The latest effort, the Small Business Relief Grant Program, provides $5,000 grants. Eligible businesses must be for-profit, based in Rhode Island, and have gross receipts under $1 million in the 2020 tax year. They should also have received less than $25,000 in prior COVID-related aid.

Development Fund Programs

For further assistance, the Rhode Island Small Business Development Fund offers loans. This program's primary goal is to help businesses retain and create jobs, focusing on enterprises impacted by the pandemic.

Eligibility Criteria for Funding Programs in Rhode Island

Understanding the eligibility criteria for funding programs is crucial for small businesses in Rhode Island. These criteria typically include requirements related to business size, location, and specific needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Eligibility for Grants and Loans

Eligibility for most small business grants and loans in Rhode Island typically requires the business to meet size and location criteria. Small businesses usually need to have a certain number of employees, often fewer than 50. They must operate within the state of Rhode Island.

Other common requirements include being in good standing with state and federal regulations. Businesses may need to demonstrate a certain level of financial need or potential for growth. While the specific criteria can vary, the focus is on supporting local small businesses to foster economic development.

Specific Criteria for COVID-19 Related Funding

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted specific funding programs to help businesses recover. To qualify for these funds, businesses must often prove a significant impact from the pandemic. This can include loss of revenue, employee layoffs, or increased operational costs due to health and safety measures.

For example, Governor McKee's Rhode Island Rebounds initiative offers grants to small businesses that meet particular criteria. These businesses might qualify for $2,500 or $5,000 in direct financial support if they can demonstrate their eligibility and need related to COVID-19 challenges. Eligible businesses must typically have been operational before a certain date, such as March 2020.

Eligibility for Technical Assistance

Technical assistance programs provide resources beyond direct financial aid. Eligibility for these programs often emphasizes the need for support in business operations, marketing, or workforce development.

Small businesses seeking technical assistance must generally demonstrate a lack of access to such resources. These programs might be targeted at specific industries, such as retail, hospitality, or manufacturing. They may also prioritize businesses owned by minorities, women, or veterans.

Providing evidence of operational challenges or gaps in business knowledge is often a key part of the application process. The goal is to equip businesses with the skills and tools they need to thrive long-term.

Small businesses in Rhode Island have access to a range of funding opportunities, each with specific eligibility requirements aimed at fostering recovery and growth within the local economy.

Available Grant Programs for Small Businesses in Rhode Island

Rhode Island offers various grant programs to support small businesses, including specific initiatives for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs provide crucial financial assistance to help businesses recover and grow.

Rhode Island Small Business Grant Program

The Rhode Island Small Business Grant Program provides financial support to small businesses throughout the state. Eligible businesses can receive grants to help with various operational costs. These grants are often made available through state-run initiatives and are intended to aid businesses that may not have access to other funding sources. Businesses must meet specific criteria such as being a for-profit entity, having a limited gross receipt amount, and demonstrating financial need.

Rhode Island Rebounds Grant Initiative

The Rhode Island Rebounds Grant Initiative is part of a broader recovery effort aimed at helping businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program offers grants of $2,500 or $5,000 to qualifying small businesses. The initiative is designed to provide direct financial support to help cover operational expenses. To qualify, businesses must meet eligibility criteria including being based in Rhode Island and demonstrating financial losses due to the pandemic. More details can be found here.

Covid-19 Pandemic Specific Grants

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a range of specific grant programs to support affected businesses. These grants include initiatives like the Rhode Island Rebounds Technical Assistance Program, which matches small businesses with expert vendors to provide essential support. Additionally, some grants limit eligibility to businesses that have received less than $25,000 in state COVID-related financial assistance to date. This focused support helps ensure that funds reach businesses most in need. Governor McKee's announcements often provide updates on these funding opportunities, which you can read more about here.

Loan Opportunities for Small Enterprises in Rhode Island

Small enterprises in Rhode Island have several loan opportunities designed to support their growth and stability. The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation offers various loan programs, particularly aimed at women- and minority-owned businesses, as well as those in underserved communities.

The Business Development Company of Rhode Island provides direct loans starting at $25,000. Interested businesses can contact Peter Dorsey at 401-351-3036 for more information on this program.

The Incumbent Worker Training Grants are another valuable resource. Businesses can receive up to $30,000 annually to cover a portion of eligible training costs. For companies with 25 or more employees, the grants cover up to 50% of costs. For businesses with fewer than 25 employees, up to 75% of costs are covered.

The State of Rhode Island Grants Management Office lists various funding opportunities for small businesses. These opportunities are updated regularly and include programs from different state agencies. Businesses should frequently check the listings to find suitable grants and subaward opportunities.

Here is a quick overview of the loan and funding programs available:

Loan Program Description Contact
Business Development Company of Rhode Island Direct loans starting at $25,000 Peter Dorsey, 401-351-3036
Incumbent Worker Training Grants Up to $30,000 annually for training costs Available through various state programs

Entrepreneurs in Rhode Island can take advantage of these resources to secure the funding they need for development and success.

How to Apply for Funding Programs in Rhode Island

Knowing how to apply for small business funding programs in Rhode Island is crucial for securing financial assistance. Below are essential details on the application process, registration requirements, and necessary documentation.

Understanding the Application Process

The application process for small business funding in Rhode Island often begins with identifying the relevant grant programs. Each program has specific eligibility criteria and application deadlines, which must be adhered to. Applicants typically need to submit an application form, which can be found online on the grant program’s website.

After submission, the applications are reviewed, and businesses may need to provide additional information if requested. Therefore, maintaining clear and complete records is essential throughout the process.

Registering with

All applicants must register with This step is mandatory for those seeking federal and many state grants, ensuring businesses are eligible for funding opportunities.

During registration, businesses will receive a Unique Entity ID (UEI), which is crucial for tracking and awarding grants. It's important to note that registering with is free, and businesses should be wary of third-party services that charge a fee. Keeping this registration up-to-date is necessary as it will be required for future funding applications.

Documentation and Financial Information

Documenting financial and business information is critical when applying for grants. This includes preparing financial statements, tax returns, and proof of business operations such as licenses or incorporation documents.

Furthermore, specific grant programs may require additional documents, like a detailed business plan outlining how the funds will be used. Applicants should ensure that all required documentation is complete and accurate to avoid delays in the application process.

In summary, being well-prepared with the necessary registration and documentation can significantly increase the chances of success in obtaining funding. Attention to detail and adherence to application guidelines are key in navigating these processes effectively.

Technical Assistance and Support Services n Rhode Island

Small businesses in Rhode Island have several avenues for receiving technical assistance and support services. These programs are designed to help businesses recover from economic impacts and thrive.

State and Community Partnerships

The RI Rebounds Technical Assistance Program offers support to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Managed by Rhode Island Commerce and operated by Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, this program provides up to $10,000 for personalized support.

The initiative emphasizes collaboration with local vendors, aiming to stabilize and strengthen small businesses. Eligible businesses can receive help in various areas, including financial planning, marketing, and operational improvement.

Other state-supported initiatives, such as the Small Business Hub, further enhance these efforts by creating a centralized resource center for entrepreneurs in need of technical assistance.

Rhode Island Small Business Development Services

The Rhode Island Small Business Development Center (RISBDC) offers a wide range of services aimed at fostering business growth. These include one-on-one counseling, training workshops, and access to valuable business resources.

Through the RI Small Business HUB, small businesses gain access to a hotline for immediate assistance and guidance. The RISBDC's role is pivotal in providing expert advice on strategic planning, financial management, and market analysis.

These services are typically free or low-cost, making them accessible to businesses of all sizes and stages. By leveraging these resources, Rhode Island entrepreneurs can navigate challenges more effectively and position their businesses for long-term success.

Success Stories and Impact Assessment in Rhode Island

This section highlights the achievements of funded businesses and the economic impact of these funding programs on the small business economy in Rhode Island. By showcasing real-life examples and economic data, it provides a clearer picture of the benefits these programs bring.

Testimonials from Funded Businesses

Byron Delmonico, a native of Rhode Island, co-founded the Riddle Room, which started in 2016 with the help of local funding. Today, it employs 16 people and offers interactive escape rooms with movie-quality sets. Financial support helped the business grow from a small startup to a thriving component of the local entertainment industry.

The Innovate RI Fund has also supported high-growth startups by providing grants to defray the costs of applying for federal SBIR/STTR grants. Numerous small businesses have leveraged these funds to scale operations, hire interns, and innovate new products, contributing significantly to their success and longevity in the market.

Reports on Economic Impact for Rhode Island

Economic reports underscore the positive impact of funding programs on Rhode Island's small business economy. State grant opportunities have enabled community partners, municipalities, and non-profits to secure essential resources, fostering community development and job creation.

The Innovate RI Small Business Fund has played a crucial role in supporting local entrepreneurs. By providing necessary capital, it encourages innovation and expansion, which in turn drives economic growth. These funds have led to increased employment opportunities and a robust economic environment, proving essential for sustained economic health and prosperity in Rhode Island.

Grant Payment, Use, and Reporting Requirements in Rhode Island

To receive grant funds, businesses must first meet eligibility criteria. Once approved, grant payments are typically made as direct deposits. These payments aim to offer financial support to businesses to cover various expenses.

Grant funds can be used for salaries and wages of employees, ensuring businesses can retain their workforce. Additionally, they can cover other operational costs, which may include:

  • Rent and utilities
  • Supplier payments
  • Inventory purchases
  • Equipment maintenance

Restrictions on the use of grant funds are also important. Funds may not be used to pay federal debt, as specified in the Small Business Grant Information and Other Funding Resources.

Reporting Requirements:

  1. Documentation: Businesses must keep meticulous records of expenses paid with grant funds.
  2. Periodic Reports: Periodic financial reports may be required to demonstrate the proper use of funds.
  3. Gross Receipts: Businesses may need to provide statements of gross receipts to establish the impact of the grant on their operations.

To ensure compliance, failure to adhere to reporting requirements or misuse of funds can result in penalties. Businesses should review all guidelines provided by the funding agencies, such as those listed on the State of Rhode Island Grants Management Office.

Additional Resources and Contacts in Rhode Island

Small businesses in Rhode Island have access to a range of support programs and resources. Key contacts are available through the Rhode Island Commerce Secretary's Office and the Rhode Island District Office.

Rhode Island Commerce Secretary's Office

The Rhode Island Commerce Secretary's Office provides crucial information and resources for small businesses. Under the leadership of Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor, the office administers programs such as the Rhode Island Small Business Relief Grant Program and the RI Rebounds Small Business Grant Program, which are designed to assist businesses affected by COVID-19.

Businesses can receive grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to help recover from financial setbacks. The office also offers guidance on state regulations, permitting, and other essential business operations. Business owners can visit their website for a comprehensive list of available programs and funding opportunities.

For direct assistance, engaging with the Commerce Secretary's Office can help businesses navigate the complex landscape of state-provided support.

Rhode Island District Office Resources

The Rhode Island District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) serves small businesses across all five counties in Rhode Island. Located at 380 Westminster St., Room 511, Providence, RI, this office provides a range of services, including financial assistance, counseling, and business training programs.

Business owners can benefit from loan programs, disaster assistance, and consulting services aimed at expanding business capabilities. The office operates Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but is closed on federal holidays.

For more information, businesses are encouraged to visit the Rhode Island SBA office online. This resource can provide valuable insights into federal programs that supplement state-level initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses various funding options for Rhode Island's small businesses, including specific grant programs, application processes, and available resources.

What types of grants are available for small businesses in Rhode Island?

The RI Rebounds Small Business Grant Program offers two levels of grants: $2,500 and $5,000. These grants assist businesses with less than $1 million in annual gross revenue that suffered financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How can startups apply for funding programs in Rhode Island?

Startups can explore different grant opportunities by contacting the Rhode Island Small Business HUB. Applications typically require detailed business plans and financial statements. Most programs have specific eligibility criteria that must be met.

What support is available for small businesses in Rhode Island affected by COVID-19?

Small businesses affected by COVID-19 may qualify for the RI Rebounds Small Business Grant Program. The program provides financial assistance to help cover losses incurred during the pandemic. Additionally, $800 supplemental awards are available for eligible businesses.

Are there specific small business grants for women entrepreneurs in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island offers various grants and funding opportunities tailored for women entrepreneurs. Programs such as the Minority Business Accelerator and targeted small business grants provide support to women-owned businesses. Detailed information can be accessed through local business hubs and online portals.

What is the Rhode Island Minority Business Accelerator Program, and how does it work?

The Rhode Island Minority Business Accelerator Program supports minority-owned businesses through mentorship, financial assistance, and networking opportunities. Participants receive guidance to scale their operations and improve market competitiveness. Eligibility criteria and application processes are available through the state's business support platforms.

Where can Rhode Island small businesses find resources and support through the RI small business hub?

Businesses can find a plethora of resources and support via the RI Small Business HUB. The hub provides information on funding programs, technical assistance, and other vital resources to help businesses thrive in a competitive market.

This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute formal legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Resolve assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

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