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


Report: Delaware tourism sets new records

Dover, Del. – Delaware tourism experienced a record-breaking year as the state welcomed 9.2 million visitors who accounted for $3.5 billion in economic impact.

Gov. John Carney highlighted those impressive numbers in discussing Delaware’s thriving tourism industry as part of his State of the State address on Thursday.

According to data for 2018 released today by the Delaware Tourism Office, visitors paid $545.1 million in state and local taxes and fees, without which each Delaware household would have had to pay an additional $1,562 in taxes.

“Tourism is a multibillion-dollar industry in Delaware, our fourth-largest private employment sector and a vital part of the state economy,” Gov. Carney said. “By supporting tourism, we also enhance the quality of life for all Delawareans by offering recreational and cultural activities and making sure there’s even more cool stuff to do in Delaware.”

“Delaware benefits from a strong tourism industry,” Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock said. “More than 44,000 people work in the industry in Delaware, which includes hundreds of small businesses and nonprofit organizations.”

For visitors to Delaware, the most popular activities in 2018 were, in order, tax-free shopping, dining and beaches. Visitors spent an average of $346 during their stay in 2018.

More than two-thirds of visitors came from nearby metropolitan areas in the mid-Atlantic and northeast with Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Washington, D.C., being among the most popular origination markets.

“At the Delaware Tourism Office, we share Delaware’s ‘Endless Discoveries’ with out-of-state travelers each year,” Delaware Tourism Office Director Liz Keller said. “From launching award-winning marketing campaigns to embracing innovative technology, we are proud to share what makes Delaware an ideal destination and help create a positive economic impact for our state.”

In 2018, the Delaware Tourism Office launched several initiatives to drive visitation, including a national, multimedia ad campaign, a 360-degree virtual reality tour of Delaware attractions and attendance at national consumer and travel industry trade shows where DTO highlighted Delaware’s “Endless Discoveries” in conversations with potential travelers.

The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., is part of the Delaware Division of Small Business. DTO promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware. For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.

Sources: D.K. Shifflet & Associates and Rockport Analytics. For the 2018 Delaware tourism industry report, visit

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

Ten Delaware companies ready to grow after winning EDGE Grants

WILMINGTON, Del. – A bio-based materials company, a maker of wearable medical sensors, and a bakery-café were among the 10 Delaware small businesses recognized Thursday as awardees of the second round of EDGE Grants from the state Division of Small Business.

Governor John Carney, Secretary of State Jeff Bullock, and Division of Small Business Director Damian DeStefano announced the companies at an event Thursday at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington.

“It is incredible to see what the innovative entrepreneurs in this state are accomplishing,” said Governor Carney. “Their companies span a wide range of industries, but the one thing the owners share is the drive and determination necessary to start then grow their businesses. I am glad the State is able to support their work through initiatives like the EDGE Grant program.”

EDGE Grants provide a 3-to-1 match for each dollar an eligible business spends on qualified expenses that improve the company’s long-term chances of success, from market analysis to website design to acquiring essential equipment.

The State awarded grants this round to 10 companies, listed below. Five STEM Class companies are receiving a total of $495,000, and five Entrepreneur Class businesses are receiving a total of $216,000.

“EDGE Grants are helping to level the playing field for promising Delaware small companies as they compete with more established, larger businesses,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “And this program is just one of the many ways the Division of Small Business, since it was created under the Department of State three years ago, has made a strong, positive impact on the state’s economy by assisting hardworking business owners.”

EDGE launched in May, and the first grant round took place over the summer. In the second round, which opened in September, almost 100 businesses applied for funding.

Sixteen finalists – eight STEM Class and eight Entrepreneur Class – gave public presentations before a panel of expert judges on December 18 and 19 at Delaware Tech in Dover, after which five winners in each category were chosen.

“Several companies that applied in the first round but were not successful in winning a grant took advantage of the opportunity to work with the Division’s business resource managers to strengthen their applications for this time around,” said Division Director Damian DeStefano. “That is what this program is about. The grant funding is incredibly important to those who win, but EDGE also provides a way for all applicants learn how to improve their businesses.”

The Division of Small Business is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2020 round of EDGE Grants. Visit for eligibility requirements and to download the application. The deadline to apply is February 28, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.


EDGE Round Two Recipients


STEM class

2M LLC (Wilmington)
This company makes an extremely fast-charging and safe battery, which can enable a less than 10-minute charge for E-mobility applications, such as enabling an electric vehicle to go 200 miles on a 10-minute charge. 2M will use the grant to scale up production to meet customer demand.

4th Phase Water Technologies (Wilmington)
This company is focused on commercializing binder-free carbon nanotube sheets made using its proprietary processes. The sheets are superior filtration/separation membranes and electromagnetic interference shielding material for a host of industries including bioprocessing, defense, consumer electronics and automotive. The company will use its grant to acquire additional lab equipment and for marketing.

Lignolix (Wilmington)
This company is developing sustainable products from biomass, such as that which is produced in beer manufacturing. It will use the grant to scale up its chemical process, increase production capacity and attract larger commercial customers.

MCET Technologies (Wilmington)
This company developed a way of integrating sensors into textiles that can be used to monitor a patient during physical rehabilitation. It will use the grant to scale up manufacturing to increase production and expand applications.

Veramorph Materials (Wilmington)
This company developed a hydrogel-based system that allows the body to absorb pharmaceuticals more efficiently. It will use its grant for critical equipment for R&D services for pharmaceutical companies and to conduct toxicology studies.


Entrepreneur class

Best Music Coach (Dover)
This company offers online music lessons for voice and various instruments including guitar and piano. It will use its grant to upgrade its online platform and add online learning materials.

Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop (Milford)
This bakery-café will use the grant to upgrade its equipment and market its new services and a second Milford location scheduled to open later this year.

Fur Baby Tracker (Wilmington)
This woman-owned company will use its grant to roll out the mobile app it developed that lets pet parents track the progress of their cat or dog’s treatment during a stay at a veterinary hospital.

Volunteer Brewing Company (Middletown)
This family-owned craft brewing company located in downtown Middletown will use its grant to purchase new brewing and fermentation equipment to expand production.

WilmInvest (Wilmington)
This company purchases and renovates single-family homes in Wilmington which it leases to nonprofits and governmental entities to house families in need of housing and supportive services. It will use the grant to purchase and renovate additional homes.


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

STEP Grant Funds Support Small Business Exports

DOVER – For the fifth year in a row, the Delaware Department of State has received a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.) This year’s award totals $268,096 and will be used to support the state’s efforts to assist small Delaware companies in entering and developing markets overseas.

The program’s objectives are to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export, increasing sales and ultimately generating jobs in Delaware. The STEP Grant program makes matching-fund awards to states to assist small businesses in the international marketplace. Delaware will match the SBA grant with $89,365, bringing the total available for export efforts to $357,461.

To date, 96 Delaware small businesses have participated in the program. As a result, these small businesses report $48 million in new export sales, and project over $180 million in additional export sales in the next two years. In addition, 27 Delaware jobs have been created.

“The STEP Grant funds from the SBA have proven instrumental to Delaware entrepreneurs in yielding new international business. This program is a direct source of new growth for our state’s economy,” said Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock.

As with previous STEP grants, a significant portion of the grant will be used to directly reimburse small- and medium-sized companies for eligible, pre-approved export expenses such as international travel, trade show activities, translation of international marketing materials, and overseas interpreters. Without STEP grant funds, the costs of these services would otherwise prohibit many Delaware small businesses from entering certain international markets.

Export Delaware, the state’s official export resource for small businesses, will use the grant to finance export-related marketing activities. Delaware small businesses that are interested in applying may learn more about the program at

“We are thrilled to continue to support Delaware’s small businesses as they begin to export and grow through increased international sales. We expect to build upon the success of this tremendous SBA program in 2020 and the years to come,” said Beth Pomper, head of Export Delaware.

This year, Export Delaware is offering business trips to Israel, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Chile, Peru, and the Philippines. These trade missions are designed specifically for Delaware small businesses and provide the opportunity for their teams to meet one-on-one with potential customers and distributors overseas.

Delaware’s international trade representatives work with Export Delaware to organize meetings with targeted customers tailored to each participant’s needs. Delaware’s trade representatives abroad have wide networks in their countries, enabling them to secure meetings with high-level decision makers. Export Delaware staff accompany Delaware businesses in their meetings to help facilitate discussion and work toward deals.

Delaware small businesses that have joined Export Delaware trips in the past have successfully identified new distributors and partners. Export Delaware has helped small businesses achieve significant growth. Recent highlights include:

● $4.2 million purchase order as a result of a grant-funded business trip to the UK
● $3.5 million in sales as result of a trip to Germany
● $3.5 million in sales as a result of trips to Canada and Mexico

To learn more about the STEP Grant and how to apply, visit or contact Beth Pomper at

Delaware Innovation Space unveils new $6M growth space for startups

The Delaware Innovation Space (DISI), Wilmington DE, formally opened a new $6M lab space for early stage science companies at an event with over 120 attendees last Friday, September 13th.  Federal, Academic, Business & Delaware State leaders in attendance spoke about the importance of startup companies for today’s economy along with the importance of supportive state and federal policies that provide resources needed to lift startups from formation & proof of concept to becoming growth businesses.   

DISI CEO & President, Bill Provine kicked off the event by expressing excitement in the completion of enhancements to DISI. “We have transformed a building originally built for one company, the DuPont Merck joint venture, and have created what you see here today – a highly interactive, collaborative, and supportive environment for many startup companies,”  said Provine.  According to Provine, the renovation enhances the ability of DISI to grow and scale these companies, potentially into the next large scale employers like a DuPont, Agilent, Gore, or Incyte.  In particular, he spoke to building “companies that will last for generations and ultimately employ thousands of employees and will be future cornerstones of our community.” 

Assistant Secretary of US Dept of Commerce and head of Economic Development Administration (EDA), Dr. John Fleming spoke about the importance of driving growth of local economies and job creation. “What has lifted mankind the most over time has been innovation and increased productivity, and America does that best,” Fleming said enthusiastically, “and this is the best of America.” The EDA provided $3M in funding to create the new private lab pods & collaboration spaces to give early-stage science companies with the tools and capabilities to startup and scale-up into successful businesses. 

U.S. Senator, Tom Carper spoke to the importance of adaptable startups in today’s world in saying “the world has changed, and we have to be able to be nimble and to change as well. And, this building and the folks that are in here and starting businesses and growing here are the face of change.”  Delaware Governor, John Carney echoed Carper’s comments by proclaiming that “new discoveries, new jobs, and new businesses are more likely to spin out of a facility like this than to be driven by some of our bigger corporate citizens in our state.”  According to Provine, since launching 2 years ago, DISI programs have actively supported over 30 companies, which enabled the growth or retention of over 240 jobs with an average salary of over $100,000 per year, and client startup companies have raised over $120 million dollars in private investment to date. 

 University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis spoke to the importance of entrepreneurship to UD, specifically that it is one of the five priorities of the university. “We take the position very seriously that we have to help transform our economy towards a knowledge based economy and what we’re doing is clearly going in this direction,” said Assanis.  He quickly highlighted two recent success startup success stories, starting with W7 Energy.  W7 is a company focusing on developing advanced fuel cell materials to create price parity with traditional gasoline engines, the company was just awarded over $4 million via Department of Energy’s ARPA-E grant program.  He also spoke about MCET Technologies, a new spin-out from UD which just won a DuPont sponsored competition for free space at DISI for a year.  Assanis spoke that DISI is “going to help our entrepreneurs become more creative, become more successful, and we’re happy to have our students come to the incubator and work with the companies and create a wonderful eco system within our state.” 

 Alexa Dembek, DuPont’s Chief Technology and Sustainability spoke to a critical component of DuPont’s innovation strategy: collaborating with startups. “The reason that’s important today is because we know to stay relevant, we have to rely on partnerships and collaborations in a very different way than we were comfortable with before in the past,” said Dembek.  She continued by mentioning several key decisions she made when accepting the role, specifically in ending a culture of “not invented here”  Dembek explained further, “it’s super important because with that mindset, that means that entrepreneurism, that means collaboration with the state, that means collaboration with the University of Delaware is essential for all of us to win and especially to win in our hometown of Delaware.” 

 During the ceremony, Provine & Assanis highlighted DISI’s FastPass competition, where startups can be awarded up to 1 year of free space at DISI combined with access to DISI’s business building programs & with a $5000 credit for supplies. Currently, DISI is seeking companies that are affiliated with the University of Delaware, either by leveraging technologies developed at UD or consisting of leadership teams with current facility, staff, students or alumni.  Assanis boasted “Don’t underestimate the mighty 150 square feet of incubator space that we’re providing, believe me, here people turn their dreams into reality.”