[caption id="attachment_230006" align="alignnone" width="1536"] Delaware small businesses can apply to compete for an EDGE award from the Division of Small Business to help grow their business. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DELAWARE STATE GOVERNMENT[/caption]
DOVER – Delaware small businesses can apply to compete for an Encouraging Development, Growth, and Expansion (EDGE) award from the Division of Small Business to help grow their business until March 31.
To be eligible for an EDGE award, a company must be under seven years old and have less than ten workers. Businesses had to be fewer than five years old in prior rounds, but DSB decided to increase this restriction to let more young small firms to apply for investment.
“We know that it may take a few years for some small businesses to get off the ground, especially the businesses in our STEM category,” Division of Small Business Director Regina Mitchell said in a statement. “By expanding the number of years that eligible EDGE grant applicants have been in business, we are hopeful that even more Delaware start-up companies will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to apply.”
EDGE grants are awarded through a competitive selection process. Five STEM-based companies can receive up to $100,000 for eligible expenses while five Entrepreneur Class (non-STEM) businesses can receive up to $50,000.
EDGE is a matching grant program. DSB matches a winning business’s investment on a 3-to-1 basis. The business can spend grant funds on expenses that help improve the company’s long-term chances of success, such as a marketing campaign to help acquire more customers or purchasing a needed piece of equipment that can increase production capacity.
Applications for the competition round will be accepted until March 31 at 5 p.m. Finalists will pitch their grant proposals to a panel of expert judges. Winners will be announced in the summer.
“Delaware entrepreneurs are passion-driven individuals ready to either start or grow their small business,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “Our role is to encourage and support them by providing significant capital through the EDGE grants program so that they reach their highest potential.”
Since EDGE launched in 2019, $4.3 million has been awarded to 70 promising Delaware small businesses in industries ranging from renewable energy technology to fitness centers to restaurants. This will be the seventh round of the program since its launch.
Businesses should visit the Division of Small Business website for eligibility requirements, to download the grant application and to connect with a Regional Business Manager for application assistance.