Additional Direct Support Now Available to Small Businesses Applying for DE Relief Grants

Delaware Division of Small Business and Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce Announce Partnership

Dover, DE (Nov. 18, 2020) – More small businesses will have help in applying for DE Relief Grants through a new relationship between the Delaware Division of Small Business (DSB) and the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce (DEBCC).

The two organizations have formed a partnership under which the Chamber will assist small businesses in applying for DE Relief Grants, a key economic relief program administered by the Division of Small Business.

“We are thrilled to announce this partnership,” said Ayanna Khan, DEBCC President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our goal is to increase the number of minority-owned businesses applying and approved for DE Relief Grants. This will advance the Chamber’s mission to serve the needs of minority-owned businesses across Delaware, provide economic opportunity and support to business owners as well as to the communities they serve.”

Through Nov. 12, 1,904 applicants had accepted and/or been approved for more than $61 million in grants, with requests for another $31.2 million undergoing the review process.

The median grant award has been a little more than $20,000. The typical recipient had a median annual 2019 gross revenue of just under $500,000.

“DE Relief Grants have been a source of vital financial assistance to Delaware small business owners,” said Division of Small Business Director Damian DeStefano. “The Division’s partnership with the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce will ensure that more small businesses, particularly those we know have been hit hardest by COVID-19, such as minority-owned firms and microenterprises, have access to the assistance they need to secure the most relief funding possible.”

DE Relief Grants are a joint effort between the state of Delaware and New Castle County. Under the rules of the federal CARES Act, from which the program money comes, the State and County must use available funds by Dec. 31, 2020.

Applications for the current round of grants are due by December 4, which provides time for all applications to be reviewed and funds to be dispersed prior to the end of the year.

Information about DE Relief Grants can be found at, including an extensive Q&A document, demonstration videos and a full explanation of eligible expenses.

Business owners interested in assistance from the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce can email the Chamber at or call (302) 709-1708.

About the Division of Small Business
The Division of Small Business is focused on making Delaware the number one state in the nation to start and grow a small business. We provide support to businesses of fewer than 100 employees to help them maximize their potential. Small businesses account for 98 percent of businesses in Delaware and employ 55 percent of Delaware’s workforce. To help them succeed, the Division offers grant and loan programs and customized services and support, ranging from assistance navigating governmental regulations to connecting them to an extensive network of resource partners.  For more information visit

About the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce

The DEBCC works to ensure that minority and other disadvantaged entrepreneurs are not left behind due to a lack of support to help them achieve success. The DEBCC provides the necessary assistance and support systems to ensure that minority-owned businesses advance their economic footprint across Delaware. DEBCC serves as a vital hub for connecting minority business owners and entrepreneurs with the resources needed to assist them in growing their enterprise and creating new economic opportunities and job growth throughout the First State.  Most importantly, the DEBCC is an all inclusive Chamber, dedicated to economic advancement and equality for all. For more information visit



$1.5 Million EDA Grant to Delaware Innovation Space to Launch Hard Science Startup Accelerator

WILMINGTON, Del. Today, Delaware Governor John Carney, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) announced a $1.5 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to Delaware Innovation Space to create a Hard Science Startup Accelerator. The grant was awarded through the national Build to Scale (B2S) competition run by the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) at EDA.

Delaware Innovation Space is a nonprofit incubator and accelerator at the Experimental Station where scientists, business leaders, community members, investors, and service providers in the industrial biotech, advanced materials, chemical ingredients, renewable energy, nutrition and healthcare fields can build business concepts together and accelerate the path to commercialization. It is the result of a public-private partnership between the State of Delaware, DuPont and the University of Delaware. This grant award will provide mentorship and training to entrepreneurs to help them develop and grow their business.

Delaware Innovation Space was awarded the top amount of $1.5 million in the competition placing it in the top 10 percent of more than 600 applications that were submitted from across the United States.

“We want innovators and entrepreneurs to start in Delaware, stay in Delaware, and grow in Delaware,” said Governor John Carney. “The accelerator program funded by this grant will assist emerging science-based startups to grow and thrive right here in Delaware. The world has changed. We have to continue being nimble and supporting our entrepreneurial ecosystem. We’ve already seen success out of the Delaware Innovation Space from companies like Prelude Therapeutics, and I look forward to seeing the Delaware companies that this program will launch and grow.”

“The lack of physical lab space with expert business mentorship and training is a road block to the ultimate success of emerging entrepreneurs in the hard sciences,” said Bill Provine, Delaware Innovation Space President & CEO. The Hard Science Startup Accelerator will provide science entrepreneurs with access to structured programs and a customized learning experience that will improve their business concepts and plans, making them more attractive to investors. This combined with the physical assets of the Delaware Innovation Space which includes a more than 130,000-square-foot physical and virtual collaboration ecosystem will assist and equip scalable startups with the tools and expert insights that they need to transform the markets in which they operate.”  

“The Delaware Innovation Space was born out of Delaware’s long history of scientific innovation. As we push through this pandemic, the Innovation Space will continue to be an important part of research and discovery – and economy recovery,” said Senator Carper, ranking member on the Environment and Public Works committee in the U.S. Senate, which has jurisdiction over EDA. “The Delaware Innovation Space will leverage this federal investment and use the resources of the University of Delaware and DuPont to mentor entrepreneurs through its Hard Science Startup Accelerator. We must continue to find ways to grow our economy for the long-term, and this grant will help foster that innovation.”

 “The Hard Science Startup Accelerator program aims to help startup companies and science entrepreneurs be competitive in today’s global economy,” said Senator Coons. “The Delaware Innovation Space has helped companies like Yushan Yan’s W7 Energy to spin out of the University of Delaware their fuel cell technology, and this $1.5-million grant will continue advancing innovation and economic development with other startups in the First State. This federal funding, combined with investments from other partners, helps make sure that Delaware – the birthplace of Nylon, Kevlar, Teflon, and Oliver Evans’ Automated Flour Mill – can provide capital-intensive wet lab space and world-class mentorship well into the future to many more promising technologies.”

“In the midst of our national period of economic hardship, we must continue to help our emerging entrepreneurs innovate and succeed,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “The Delaware Innovation Space represents the best kind of partnership that we must continue to utilize and leverage. I’m excited to see how this federal investment will help catalyze some truly exciting results.”

The Hard Science Startup Accelerator will be offered at no-charge to startup companies and the application window for the first cohort class along with other supporting programs will open in late 2020; with the first cohort class beginning work in 2021.



Second Application Round for DE Relief Grants to Open October 1

Round 1 applicants will be notified of status by September 30

WILMINGTON, Del. – Eligible Delaware small businesses and nonprofits will be able to apply for the $30 million available from second round of DE Relief Grants starting Thursday, October 1 at 10:00 a.m. on

“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.”

To help applicants prepare, the Division of Small Business is hosting a webinar Friday, September 25 at 12:30 p.m. Attendees will learn from the challenges and experiences of Round 1 with the goal of increasing their chances of receiving Round 2 funding.

Zoom link

The first application round was open for 36 hours. During that time DSB received 1,645 applications, eligible for $54.4 million in grants.

“We expected high demand for the grants as this has been an very difficult time for so many businesses,” said Damian DeStefano, Director of the Division of Small Business. “We were encouraged to see that so many of the applications were from parts of the business community that have been hit hardest, including very small family-owned firms, hospitality businesses, like restaurants and tourist attractions, and minority- and women-owned businesses.”

Facts about round 1 applications:

  • Disproportionately impacted industries (food services, retail, personal care, etc.) accounted for two-thirds of the dollar amount.
  • More than half the applicants were minority- or woman-owned businesses.
  • Three-quarters of the businesses and nonprofits that applied had annual revenues under $1 million (44% under $250,000).
  • Three-quarters of applicants have fewer than 10 employees (more than half, fewer than 5).

Businesses that applied during Round 1 will know by September 30 the final status of their applications, including if the application was not accepted. If an application was not accepted, they can and should consider applying for Round 2.

Grants of up to $100,000 are available based on 2019 revenue. Information on determining the amount a business is eligible for, what expenses are eligible for submission and additional program stipulations is available in the Frequently Asked Questions section of

Businesses interested in applying should, if they have not already done so, gather the following required documents:

  • Complete 2019 tax return
  • State of Delaware Business License (applicants must submit unless in an industry with a legal exemption from this requirement)
  • Receipts for qualifying expenses (carefully check what qualifies as an eligible expense)

The DE Relief Grants program is a joint initiative of at least $100 million between the State of Delaware and New Castle County, funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The grants aim to help Delaware eligible small businesses and nonprofits pay expenses related to COVID-19.



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 Releases Update on Delaware’s COVID-19 Response

Churches may conduct outside gatherings; applications available for restaurant outdoor seating

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Saturday released an update on Delaware’s response to COVID-19. On Friday afternoon, Governor Carney signed the 19th modification to his State of Emergency declaration, formalizing steps taken earlier in the week to allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating capacity.

All Delaware food and drink establishments may apply to their local municipal or county jurisdiction with plans to expand outdoor seating. The Delaware Office of Alcohol Beverage Control also will review plans submitted by applicants with liquor licenses. Delaware restaurants and bars are scheduled to open their indoor spaces at 30 percent of stated fire capacity during Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening, beginning June 1.

Click here for the outdoor seating application for Delaware restaurants.

“We want everyone to enjoy Delaware’s great restaurants, bars and craft breweries, but we’re asking that you do so safely, in a way that protects our neighbors and members of all of our families,” said Governor Carney. “We know Delaware’s hospitality industry has been hit especially hard by this crisis. Our hope is this change will allow restaurants, bars, and craft breweries to safely expand their businesses outdoors.”

To help Delaware businesses prepare for reopening, the State of Delaware launched a new Business to Business Toolkit to help connect businesses with vendors selling masks, gloves, and other protective supplies. The toolkit includes a listing of self-reported information from suppliers that responded to the Governor Carney’s Community Call-to-Action. Vendors with available supplies can complete this form to be added to the vendor list. Businesses should conduct appropriate due diligence to verify the vendor information prior to contracting for products or services.

Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) also updated guidance for Delaware churches and other communities of worship on Saturday. Delaware churches and houses of worship may conduct outdoor services without limitations on gathering sizes, as long as they follow social distancing and other basic health precautions, including around handwashing and face coverings.

Communities of worship must post signage detailing basic health precautions, including information about social distancing, frequent hand washing, and the use of face coverings. Churches and houses of worship also should discourage parishioners 65 and older from attending services, because of their greater risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and falling seriously ill.

All Delaware houses of worship have been deemed essential under Delaware’s stay-at-home order since Governor signed the order on Sunday, March 22.

Read the 19th modification to Governor Carney’s State of Emergency declaration.

“Delawareans have fundamental right to practice their faith, but we need everyone to do so safely. You don’t have a right to get others sick,” said Governor Carney. “This is a serious disease. Keep your distance. Wear a face covering. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. All of Delaware’s restrictions are based on public health guidance. More than 300 Delawareans, and nearly 100,000 Americans, have died from this terrible disease. These precautions are not intended to be an annoyance. They’re intended to limit transmission of COVID-19 and save as many lives as we can.”

For additional details about Delaware’s economic reopening, visit

Anyone with a question about COVID-19, should call Delaware 2-1-1, or email 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. Medical-related questions related to testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance 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