SCORE

What You Need to Know About two Commerce RI Grant Programs:
Restore Rhode Island and Take It Outside

By Jim Mutschler

Commerce RI recently announced two grant programs for Rhode Island small businesses, Restore RI and Take it Outside. Here is a summary of the Restore RI program, followed by a short introduction to the Take it Outside program.

The Restore Rhode Island Grant Program

How much money can I receive?

Grants of up to $30,000 are available for eligible Rhode Island businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by COVID-19. Grant amounts are calculated based on business size, industry and revenue loss.

Is my business eligible?

Program eligibility includes the following:

  • Small businesses and nonprofits in eligible industries who demonstrate a 30% or higher revenue loss due to COVID-19.
  • Applicants must have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees or qualifying independent contractors (includes sole proprietors and businesses without employees). The employee cap does not apply to restaurants or caterers.
  • Must have a physical presence in Rhode Island & be open or have a plan to reopen in the next 60 days.
  • Additional industry eligibility rules & company specific rules apply. Visit CommerceRI.com for more information.

What can the funds be used for?

Funds can be used for costs and expenses incurred due to the business interruption or other adverse conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Permissible expenses include:

  • Rent or mortgage interest payments
  • Utilities
  • Technology upgrades
  • Physical adaptation changes
  • Supplies or equipment related to new COVID-19 protocols
  • Professional services procured
  • Other COVID-related fixed expenses

What documents do I need to prepare?

Information that will be collected during the application process includes:

  • Details about COVID impact and revenue loss
  • Information about total number of W2 employees or qualifying independent contractors
  • Additional required information such as a federal DUNS number, the business’ most recent tax return, ownership information, etc.
  • A full checklist to help you prepare your application and collect required documentation can be found on CommerceRI.com

When will I receive the funds?

Once an application is submitted, approved requests are expected to be fulfilled within approximately 30 days. Funding will be awarded in rounds and the program may be adjusted from time to time to ensure the fair allocation of funding.

For more information on the Restore Rhode Island grant program and to apply go to CommerceRI.com.

For a Spanish version of this information please see here: https://commerceri.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/RESTORE-RHODE-ISLAND_ONE-PAGER_SPANISH_OCTOBER-2020.pdf

The “Take It Outside” Grant Program                              

Rhode Island Commerce is also offering cash awards to help businesses “Take It Outside”.  This program is being administered through intermediary organizations such as municipalities and Chambers of Commerce. They use these funds to encourage and increase outdoor commerce in an effort to reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19, by covering the cost of purchasing items such as chairs, tables, heat lamps and tents, as well as executing al fresco economic opportunities such as wintertime markets.

If you are a business owner, you may be able to access funds by contacting one of the intermediary organizations found here: https://reopeningri.com/take-it-outside-grant-program

SCORE volunteers are available to assist you with either Commerce RI grant program. Feel free to reach out to us at www.score.org or call 401-226-0077.

For more than 50 years, SCORE has helped more than 11 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in more than 300 chapters serve their communities.

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About the Author(s)

 Jim  Mutschler

Jim Mutschler is a RI SCORE Small Business Mentor, recently retired from regional and national operations management roles for a Fortune 100 company, with decades of service to non-profit and community organizations.

Commerce RI