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DSB Funding Competition Gives Delaware Small Businesses an “EDGE”

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Access to funding is one of the things that most startup and early-stage small businesses say is one of the hardest things to come by, and one of the most critical needs they have. The Delaware Division of Small Business (DSB) is helping many overcome this hurdle through its Encouraging Development, Growth and Expansion (EDGE) Program.

Regina Mitchell

Regina Mitchell

EDGE is a competition for grant funding. Five STEM-based companies can each receive up to $100,000 for eligible expenses while five Entrepreneur Class (non-STEM) businesses can each receive up to $50,000.

The EDGE competition allows DSB to support small business owners in Delaware. Through this program the agency is fostering innovation through the investment of capital necessary to help individuals start or expand their small business. Since the program launch in 2019, DSB has awarded $5.0 million to 80 small businesses.

The Fall 2023 round of the EDGE Competition opens Sept. 1, and closes Sept. 29. You can visit de.gov/edge to learn more. Applications will not be available online until Sept. 1., but in the meantime you can connect with a Regional Business Manager in your county to get more details on the process.

To help interested business owners learn more about the EDGE program and how to apply, DSB is holding an informational webinar on August 30, at 10 a.m.  Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_29rtYgYARMGyCDHVpHkX8A. On September 6, at 1 p.m., DSB is holding a webinar on how to use its free business analytics tool, Size Up Delaware to fill in key components of the application.  Register for that webinar here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rgqxdqDiTEafxVm99l_RQA.

EDGE Award

To be eligible to apply for the EDGE competition, your small business must have been in operation for less than seven years and have 10 or fewer employees including part time and contract employees.   

Small business owners can apply for funding to support expenses that help improve the company’s long-term chances of success and sustainability, such as purchasing needed equipment that can increase production capacity, improving building infrastructure, or contracting for website design or a marketing campaign to help acquire more customers. DSB matches a winning business’s investment on a 3-to-1 basis.

Awardees in the latest round of the competition include a drone company in need of an indoor facility, a company developing a new product for next generation silicon solar cells, and owners looking to bring a printing and artist co-working space to Kent County. For future rounds, DSB is particularly focused on increasing the number of STEM applicants, particularly those from Kent and Sussex Counties.

DSB operates the EDGE competition twice each year, once in the spring, and once in the fall. After each round’s application closing date and a few rounds of evaluation, finalists will pitch their grant proposals to a panel of expert judges approximately a month later, and for the fall round, winners will be announced by the end of the year.

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