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New grant program to fuel small business growth

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For National Small Business Week, which takes place May 5-11, the Delaware Division of Small Business has launched a matching grant program to assist entrepreneurs who want to grow their small businesses.

Gov. John Carney along with Damian DeStefano, director of the Delaware Division of Small Business, which will administer the program, announced the new grants during a news conference at O’Connor Belting International in Newark.

“Small businesses are the engine that drives Delaware’s economy,” said Gov. John Carney. “We launched this program because want our hardworking entrepreneurs to know that their government is here to help them. If they succeed, our state succeeds.”

EDGE Grants (Encouraging Development, Growth & Expansion) are designed to help newer small businesses level the playing field with larger, more established companies by providing a 3-to-1 match for each dollar the business spends on qualified expenses.

Small businesses account for 98 percent of all Delaware businesses and employ 55 percent of Delaware’s workforce.

As many as ten EDGE grants will be awarded in the first round of funding: five grants of up to $100,000 each for science/research-based businesses (STEM Class) and five grants of up to $50,000 each for all other businesses (Entrepreneur Class).

Among other requirements, businesses eligible for EDGE must be less than five years old, with no more than 10 employees and be majority located in Delaware.

“We are thrilled to start working on this new program, and it’s fitting we are announcing it during National Small Business Week,” said Damien DeStefano, director of the division. “The Division was created two years ago to make sure that more focus was put on assisting our home grown businesses. With this tool we are providing resources that will help these business find long-term success.”

Qualified expenses include:

  • acquiring real estate for use in the business
  • purchasing essential equipment
  • investing in website design
  • investing in marketing and advertising
  • expenses related to prototyping a new product

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