State of Delaware, New Castle County Launch $100M Grant Program for Small Businesses and Nonprofits Statewide

DE Relief Grants will assist Delaware businesses affected by COVID-19

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and the Delaware Division of Small Business on Wednesday announced grant program of at least $100 million to assist Delaware small businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

The DE Relief Grants program announced on Wednesday is a joint initiative of the State of Delaware and New Castle County, and is funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The program is expected to reach more than 3,000 small businesses and nonprofit organizations with grants of up to $100,000. The Division of Small Business is administering the program and will begin accepting applications in early September at

“Delaware small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they have made considerable sacrifices during the COVID-19 crisis. We owe them our gratitude and support,” said Governor Carney. “These relief grants will help Delaware small businesses begin the process of recovering and will help make investments necessary to create safer spaces for their customers and staff.”

“Small businesses and nonprofits are facing expensive costs as they retrofit their workplaces,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “We’re pleased to be able to join with the State of Delaware in supporting this important program.”

DE Relief Grants can be used for:

  • Purchasing equipment to make a workplace suitable for COVID-19 safety (such as PPE, plexiglass, air purifiers, etc.)
  • Refinancing of debt incurred due to COVID-19 (including State of Delaware HELP loans)
  • Advertising efforts undertaken as a result of COVID-19
  • Fixed expenses the applicant accrued during COVID-19

“I’ve seen small businesses across Delaware do some amazing things to adapt and stay afloat under the extraordinary circumstances of the last six months, but so many are hanging by a thread as the pandemic drags on,” said Representative Bill Bush, who chairs the House Economic Development, Banking and Insurance Committee. “This grant funding represents a lifeline that will help our small business community overcome the next phase of this crisis.”

“This is about much more than making up for lost revenue,” said Senator Trey Paradee, chair of the Senate Banking, Business and Insurance Committee. “It’s about helping keep the doors open at the small businesses in Kent County and across the state that provide Delawareans with the paychecks and health care their families are relying on now more than ever. It’s about making our businesses safe.”

“Delaware small businesses and nonprofits have been remarkably resilient in dealing with this pandemic,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “They are the backbone of Delaware’s economy, and we feel it is imperative that the state continues to support them.”

“Multiple programs are necessary to address the challenges Delaware’s small businesses face,” said Damian DeStefano, Director of the Division of Small Business. “We believe this assistance, coupled with other efforts, including the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) and the COVID-19 Customer Protection Standards, help make the difference for some of our small businesses.”

The Division of Small Business will begin accepting applications in early September and will follow with funding rounds in early October and November.

“DE Relief Grants are a welcome commitment by the state to help support our small business community and the valuable jobs they offer to so many Delawareans,” said Carrie Leishman, President & CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association. “The effects of the pandemic have and continue to hit the food services industry particularly hard. While no single effort is a panacea, this program will certainly help restaurants as they work to stabilize revenues while protecting the health and safety of customers and employees.”

“Enhanced financial support for small businesses was a key recommendation of the business subcommittee of Governor Carney’s Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee, and has been advocated for by the state chamber,” said Katie Wilkinson, chair of the PRAC Business Subcommittee and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. “These grants can make the difference for the survival of some of our small businesses over the next few months.”

The Division of Small Business’ team of Regional Business Managers is available to help companies prepare their applications. Small businesses can connect with the manager for their part of the state at For more information on DE Relief Grants, visit

The size of the relief grant will be based on the business or nonprofit’s 2019 revenue:

  • $0-$500,000: Up to $30,000
  • $500,000-$1 million: Up to $50,000
  • $1 million-$2.5 million: Up to $72,500
  • $2.5+ million: Up to $100,000

Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 2-1-1. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

Questions can also be submitted by email at

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to



Governor Carney Expands Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (H.E.L.P.)

H.E.L.P. to include more industries and additional small businesses

WILMINGTON, Del. –  Governor John Carney on Thursday announced the expansion of the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (H.E.L.P.) to provide financial relief for additional industries impacted because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The expansion makes personal care services businesses – such as barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, and beauty shops – eligible for the program.  

Eligible businesses must have been in operation for at least a year and have annual revenue below $2.5 million. The cap on the size of eligible was previously $1.5 million in annual revenue.

“Delaware workers and small business owners have been hit especially hard by the restrictions in place to fight this public health threat,” said Governor Carney. “Expanding the HELP program from the Division of Small Business will get more help to more Delaware families and entrepreneurs who are facing significant uncertainty. We all still need to do our part, and take the public health threat seriously. Stay at home. Don’t go out in public unnecessarily. Practice basic hygiene. We’ll get through this, but everyone needs to pitch in.”

H.E.L.P. offers no-interest loans of up to $10,000 per business per month. The loans can go toward rent, utilities, and other unavoidable bills, but cannot be used for personnel costs. The loans have a 10-year term with a nine-month deferment period. 

The Division of Small Business has been processing applications that have come in for the H.E.L.P. since it was first announced on March 18 to provide assistance to restaurants, bars, and other hospitality industry businesses. The Division expects to have the first round of payments out to approved businesses by the end of the week.

The Division of Small Businesses created a list of the most frequently asked question received from business owners as they completed the application. A list of the questions and answers are provided below.

Q: Which businesses qualify for H.E.L.P. under this expansion?

  • Small businesses that have been in operation for at least a year and have annual revenue at or below $2.5 million in the following industries are eligible to apply:
    • Restaurants/Food Trucks/Caterers/Bakeries – 7225, 7223 3118
    • Bars and craft beverage makers – 7224 & 3121
    • Spectator Entertainment – 7111, 7112, 7113
    • Recreation Activities – 7121, 7131, 7139
    • Sightseeing Transportation – 4871, 4872, 4879, 4855
    • Travel Accommodations – 7211
    • Personal care services – 8121

Q: Does all the paperwork need to be completed, or should I submit to hold my place in line?

  • Send in your application and related documents only once you have compiled all of them. Applications will not be placed into the queue for processing until ALL required documentation is submitted.

Q: Will the loan be turned into a grant?  

  • No. H.E.L.P. offers zero interest loans with a nine-month deferment period.  At the end of the nine months, borrowers will be required to start making payments on the amount disbursed under the program.


Q: What do I do if my bank won’t let me accept another loan? 

  • We would encourage you to reach out to your bank to discuss your options. You may still be able to apply for H.E.L.P.


Q: Can I apply if my annual revenue is over $2.5 million? Can I get more than $10,000?

  • At this time, the program is only open to those businesses with annual revenue at or below $2.5 million and is capped at $10,000 per business per month. Businesses with revenue over $2.5 million are encouraged to reach out to the U.S. Small Business Administration ( if they need financial assistance. Any changes to the program will be posted to the Division of Small Business Coronavirus website:


Q: Why do you need all the financial data and business license information? 

  • H.E.L.P. offers loans to eligible applicants. While the process is much simpler than traditional underwriting, this data is needed to verify eligibility for the program.


Q: What if my business is not eligible for H.E.L.P.?

  • Applications received for ineligible businesses will not be processed. The SBA is offering low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million regardless of industry. More information is available at If any additions or changes are made to H.E.L.P., the updates will be shared at


Additional resources for business can be found here.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to


Governor Carney Shares Frequently Asked Questions on Essential Businesses

All Non-essential businesses ordered closed at 8 a.m. Tuesday

WILMINGTON, Del. –  Governor John Carney on Tuesday provided additional guidance from the State to help employers better understand the fourth and fifth modifications to his State of Emergency declaration, which ordered Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closed all non-essential businesses in Delaware to help fight the spread of COVID-19. The most frequently asked questions and answers are provided below.

Q: Does the order require that I obtain any paperwork, either as an employer or an employee of an essential business, to clarify that status?

  • No, it does not, and no such paperwork is needed. A full list of essential industries can be found here. If your business activity is on that list, your business is permitted to remain open as long as it follows all necessary CDC guidelines for safety at this time.

Q: My employer says our business is essential, do I still need to report to work?

  • Staffing questions should be addressed between employers and employees. As long as employers are following applicable guidelines on both leave and on the recent essential designation, then employees should handle any requests directly with employers.

Q: How do I determine if my business is designated as essential?

  • The easiest way is to use the four-digit NAICS code associated with the business. If you are the owner of the business, you can locate your NAICS code by a) looking at your unemployment insurance forms, b) looking at your most recent tax returns, or c) searching Google for your industry followed by the term “NAICS code”.
  • If you are not the owner of your business, please contact your manager or other appropriate employment supervisor and ask them for clarification on the business status.

Q: What happens if my business fails to comply with the order, either regarding our status as essential or non-essential, or with following CDC guidelines?

  • Failure to follow CDC guidelines will result in closure on an individual firm basis until the State of Emergency is lifted. Businesses who continue to operate even if they have been deemed non-essential will be given an initial grace if their failure to comply was done after a good faith effort to clarify their status, but those who do not comply and knowingly do so will be subject to civil and in some cases criminal penalties.

Q: What if my business has multiple NAICS codes?

  • Follow the least restrictive code. If one code is deemed essential while others are not, the business should be considered essential unless further clarification has been given by the state to you directly or through an industry trade group.

Q: Can I change my NAICS code to a code that is essential?

  • The NAICS code that should be used is the NAICS code that the business had for their most recent unemployment and/or tax filings prior to the issuance of the State of Emergency. A business classified as non-essential who changes or adds a NAICS code in order to fall under the essential category will be subject to the same civil and criminal penalties as a company that knowingly fails to comply with the order.

The Division of Small Business asks that employers review the essential/non-essential list to verify the status of their industry. If they still have questions, businesses should email To ensure a reply, they are asked to include their NAICS code in the email.


Governor Carney Requests Federal Assistance for Small Businesses

Governor to U.S. Small Business Administration: Make low-interest loans available to DE small businesses, nonprofits affected by COVID-19

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday submitted an application formally requesting the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide Delaware an Economy Injury Declaration, which makes loans available to small businesses and nonprofit organizations in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties.

In his letter to the SBA, Governor Carney said the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on small businesses would likely be significant.

We know that the public health restrictions we put in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus will hit Delaware’s small business community especially hard,” said Governor Carney. “We will continue to work with the Small Business Administration, and with our congressional delegation and state agencies, to provide relief to those small businesses impacted during this time.” 

Governor Carney has directed the Delaware Division of Small Business and Delaware Department of State to look for additional opportunities to support the state’s 25,000 small businesses. 

Once the state’s application to the SBA is approved, the low-interest loans of up to $2 million per business will be available for many small businesses and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

They are designed to help with the temporary loss of revenue these businesses and nonprofits are experiencing. The loans may be used for working capital expenses such as payroll, fixed debts and accounts payable, as well as other bills the business or nonprofit is currently unable to pay because of the impact of COVID-19.

Click here for more information on SBA Economy Injury Disaster Loans.

On Thursday, March 12, Governor Carney issued a State of Emergency declaration to mobilize state resources to prepare for the spread of coronavirus across Delaware.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to


New resource connects small businesses with right help at right time

DOVER, Del. (March 5, 2019) – Delaware small business owners in search of the right help at the right time will find it through the new Business Resource Connection on the website of the Delaware Division of Small Business,

The Business Resource Connection provides valuable information on approximately 300 programs from more than 80 different organizations across the state. The searchable database enables users to look for assistance based on the area in which they are located, their stage of development, the kind of help they need and more.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Delaware’s economy,” Secretary of State Jeff Bullock said. “Our job at the Division of Small Business is to do everything we can to help Delawareans start and grow businesses. Making it easy for them to connect with the resources they need to do so is essential to that mission.”

“The Business Resource Connection is a direct result of feedback we received from talking with Delaware’s small business community,” said Damian DeStefano, Director of the Division of Small Business. “Small business owners told us their lives would be easier with a place to go to find the help they needed for specific issues when they needed it. The Business Resource Connection will simplify that search and improve business outcomes.”

Developed in partnership with the state’s Government Information Center and Department of Technology & Information, the Business Resource Connection also helps the dozens of organizations that provide services by increasing their visibility and helping business find them.

“As a Chamber we absolutely understand the need for resources for the business community, and we are thrilled to see the launch of the Business Resource Connection,” said Judy Diogo, president of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce. “It is our hope that this will help those interested in opening or expanding a business, and in addition, help them expedite some of the processes in doing so.”

“There are so many great programs in Delaware that it can be a challenge to know which one is right for you,” said Marian Young, president of BrightFields Inc., a Wilmington-based environmental consulting firm. “The Business Resource Connection puts the information you need in one place, so you can spend less time looking for help and more time running your business.”

The Business Resource Connection is just one of several useful features of the Division of Small Business’s new website, including a comprehensive calendar of small business-related workshops, conferences and networking events across Delaware.


Media Contact:
Michael Chesney
Director of Communications
Division of Small Business
(302) 577-8472 (office)
(302) 943-9508 (cell)