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By Tom Shevlin, Communications Officer for City of Newport

The City of Newport has joined other Rhode Island communities in launching a Microenterprise (MicroE) Stabilization Grant Program offering working capital grants to qualifying small business microenterprises adversely impacted by COVID-19.

Grants totaling up to $5,000 are available to each approved applicant in a single lump-sum payment. Newport  has access to a total of $50,000 for MicroE grants. No City funds are involved. All of the funding is from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program made available through the Rhode Island Office of Housing and Community Development.

In recognition of the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on small businesses in Newport, it is anticipated that the Microenterprise Stabilization Grant (MicroE) Program can bring some relief to our business community. 

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Applications are currently being accepted and more information can be found on the City’s website at www.CityofNewport.com/MicroE.

As funding is limited, grants will be awarded to  qualifying microenterprises on a first come, first serve basis.  

For the purposes of the grant program, a microenterprise is a commercial enterprise that has five (5) or fewer employees, one or more of whom owns the enterprise.  The microenterprise owner’s gross annual family income may not exceed the applicable threshold, based on family size and city/town where you live (not where your business is located). The business must be physically located in Newport.

Funds may be used for working capital to cover business costs, such as rent, staffing, and utilities.  MicroE funds may not be used for major equipment purchases, purchase of real property, construction activities, business expansion, or lobbying.

The first step is to contact the City’s Planning and Economic Development Department  at 401 845 5450, (or preynolds@cityofnewport,com) to discuss whether your business might qualify for assistance. Potential applicants then will need to provide information and complete a phone interview with City staff to determine program eligibility.

Applicants that have successfully completed the phone screening will be notified by the City by email of the completion of this step. Upon completion of the phone screening, the City will refer each applicant to LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) Rhode Island for processing. While funding is available, grants will be awarded to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis in the order they are referred by the City to LISC, subject to processing by LISC.

The City will notify applicants as to the status of their applications at LISC – whether tentative approval has been granted; more information is needed; or the applicant has been determined to be ineligible  Applicants that receive tentative approval from LISC will need to enter into a business-municipality contract to receive the grant. Successful applicants will be required to submit quarterly reports for one year.

Program Documentation for Interested Applicants:

  1. Program Flyer – Description of Program, Eligibility Criteria, etc.
  2. Application Form
  3. Application Checklist
  4. Conflict of Interest Disclosure
  5. Certification Form and Public Record Notification
  6. Family Income Self-Certification Form
  7. Consent and Release Form – Nonpublic Personal Information
  8. Eligibility Information Sheet

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