By Rhode Island Commerce

Today the Raimondo Administration announced more than 200 grants totaling more than $16 million to Rhode Island’s small businesses and non-profit institutions. The grants, deployed by Commerce and drawing upon CARES Act funding, are aimed to help businesses pivot their business models, safely shift to remote work, and support the state’s hospitality, arts and tourism organizations.

“These grants provide new doses of support to our state’s small businesses and non-profits as they continue to fight their way through this crisis,” said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. “We hope there will be additional rounds of federal stimulus so we can offer even more assistance to our small businesses.”

Hospitality, Arts & Tourism (HArT) Grant Awards

Rhode Island Commerce announced the awarding of grants through the state’s hospitality, arts and tourism (HArT) relief program. The awards consisted of $4.7 million to 62 arts and tourism organizations for Engagement, Service, and Resiliency (“ESR”) activities.

In addition to ESR funds, the HArT program has also awarded 40 organizations direct support grants totaling $8 million. Combined with the first round of awards, the total amount granted by the HArT program totals $14.1 million to 95 organizations.     

The HArT grant program aims to prevent the long-term closure of arts, culture, hospitality and tourism businesses and institutions, while also building resiliency, workforce support, and community engagement. The grants announced today are designed to spur further economic activity, create safe convening opportunities, and allow increased and accessible artistic and tourist-friendly opportunities.

“The State Arts Council is proud to partner with Commerce in helping arts and culture organizations through the very real challenges they face during this pandemic,” said Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. “The arts were the first sector affected by the onset of COVID-19, and the economic losses the arts community has experienced have been staggering. Thanks to Secretary Pryor and Commerce, we hope to soon see the arts back to full strength, contributing to the economic and cultural well-being of our state.”

To read the full list of awardees, click here.

Business Adaptation Grant Awards

Rhode Island Commerce today announced an additional $1.8 million in funding to 68 businesses in the second round of Business Adaptation grants. The first round of funding announced earlier this month saw $1.4M in funding awarded to 31 businesses, bringing the total amount awarded from this program to $3.2 million to 99 businesses.

The Business Adaptation Grant Program was designed to assist companies dramatically constrained and significantly impacted by the public health emergency resulting from the COVID 19 pandemic.

To read the full list of awardees, click here.

Remote Work

Rhode Island Commerce has announced that the Remote Work grant program has distributed more than $1.6M in resources to 123 businesses in more than 20 cities and towns. These grants are assisting 420 employees with the hardware and software needed for effective, at-home remote work. Commerce is working through two intermediaries, Social Enterprise Greenhouse and District Hall Providence, to purchase and distribute this helpful technology.

In-kind technology grants are still available for businesses and nonprofits with between two and 100 employees. Businesses can apply to receive hardware or software needed to bring their employees to remote work at The deadline to apply to this program is Friday, December 18.

Small Business Development Fund Continues to Take Applications

Rhode Island Commerce shared that Enhanced Capital Rhode Island (ECRI) continues to take applications for its $20 million small business loan program which is part of the Rhode Island Small Business Development Fund program. The program’s primary focus is to provide financial assistance to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Loans to eligible Rhode Island-based small businesses are offered in the following two categories: 

  • Micro Loans of $10,000 to $50,000 per company
  • Larger Term Loans of up to $1 million per company

At least $15 million of loans will be provided to “COVID Impacted Businesses” defined as Rhode Island based businesses with a 33% revenue loss for the period January 2020 through May 2020 versus the same period for the prior year, or such other impacted businesses as may be approved on a case by case basis. More information and a link to the application can be found here:

These programs are in addition to the Restore Rhode Island grant program, which, to date, has awarded more than $42 million to over 3,250 businesses, and the Take It Outside initiative, which distributed more than $7.2 million to more than 100 intermediary organizations, including a recent addition of $760,000 to awardees.

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