COVID-related Grants Available for Rhode Island Small Businesses

Here are a few state programs for which your small business or non-profit organization may be eligible.

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Insights  <  COVID-related Grants Available for Rhode Island Small Businesses

Here are a few state programs for which your small business or non-profit organization may be eligible.

As we head into the winter months, Rhode Island’s business community is still navigating a host of challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why it’s important for business owners and non-profit organization leaders to be aware of all of the financial relief options that are currently available here in the Ocean State.

Here are a few state programs for which your small business or non-profit organization may be eligible.

Restore RI Small Business Grant Program

What is it?

In early August, Rhode Island Commerce officially unveiled the Restore RI Small Business Grant Program, a $50 million initiative designed to support local small businesses that were most severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The program was expanded in October with increased eligibility and larger potential grant awards. The current individual grant cap is $30,000.

Since its launch, the Restore RI Small Business Grant Program has distributed funding to more than 1,400 businesses totaling more than $11 million.

Who’s eligible?

The program’s original eligibility requirements limited Restore RI funding to businesses with 10 employees or fewer that can prove they’ve lost significant revenue during the pandemic. However, the initiative has since expanded.

Restore RI grants are now available to:

  • Businesses with 50 employees or fewer (including businesses with no employees)
  • Sole proprietors
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Child-care businesses

In order to ensure these funds are received by the most at-risk communities, Restore RI applicants must be able to demonstrate a 30% or higher revenue drop in one month between March and July of 2020, compared to the same month in 2019.

Full eligibility requirements can be found by clicking here.

How can I apply?

Applicants can apply online for Restore RI funding by clicking here. To complete the application, you’ll need to gather some information and documents, including:

  • Most recent tax return, ownership information and Business EIN/Tax ID
  • Revenue records for one month between March-July 2020, and the same month in 2019
  • DUNS number (If you don’t have it, request your DUNS number by clicking here)
  • Records of your eligible expenses and information about state or federal funding you’ve already received
  • Owner information, including driver’s license and social security number

Rhode Island Commerce has established a website with all the information you need on the Restore RI Small Business Grant Program. Catch up by clicking here.

Take It Outside Initiative

What is it?

Officially unveiled by Governor Gina Raimondo’s Administration in early September, Rhode Island’s Take It Outside initiative is a “statewide effort to encourage and increase outdoor activities for all Rhode Islanders.”

As part of the program, Gov. Raimondo originally set aside $1 million to provide grants to intermediary organizations that present plans to create or enhance outdoor activities in Rhode Island. Due to heavy demand, the Take It Outside budget was increased. So far, more than $6.1 million in funding has been distributed across more than 100 intermediary organizations.

Individual grants are capped at $150,000.

Who’s eligible?

Take It Outside grants are available to:

  • Non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce, municipalities, merchant associations, downtown improvement districts, tourism regions, arts & cultural institutions and other intermediaries operating in Rhode Island.
  • All applicants must be registered with the Rhode Island Secretary of State, conduct operations within the state of Rhode Island, and have a location that can reasonably accommodate outdoor expansion opportunities.

How can I apply?

Rhode Island Commerce has already announced the list of intermediary organizations that have been awarded Take It Outside funding, which included several Rhode Island cities, towns and municipalities as well as many local chambers of commerce.

Several awardees are now going through the process of creating their own application portals to disburse their share of state funding to local businesses under their respective jurisdictions.

Our best advice: If you own a small business that could use assistance setting up outdoor activities, review the list of intermediary organizations that have received funding by clicking here.

Hotel, Arts & Tourism Grant Program

What is it?

The Rhode Island Hotel Arts & Tourism Grant Program (HArT, for short) was announced in late October with a launch date of November 2. It’s a $20 million competitive grant program that “aims to prevent the closure of arts, culture, hospitality and tourism businesses and institutions while also building resilience to shifts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Of the $20 million total price tag, $10 million will be earmarked to support what’s known as Engagement, Service and Resiliency (ESR) activities. According to state officials, ESR activities encompass anything designed to “spur economic activity” and increase access to “artistic and tourist-friendly opportunities.” The program’s remaining $10 million will be distributed in the form of direct financial support for eligible organizations.

Who’s eligible?

HArT Recovery Grant Program funding is available to Rhode Island-based businesses, sole proprietors or non-profit organizations operating in the arts, culture, event, entertainment, or hospitality/hotel sectors.

All applicants must:

  • Show a year-over-year revenue loss for Q2 and Q3 of at least 30 percent
  • Be open for business or have a plan to reopen in the coming months
  • Demonstrate documented efforts to reduce costs, secure outside funding or otherwise adjust their business in the wake of the pandemic
  • Commit to maintaining or increasing their current employment

Additional industry-specific requirements can be found by clicking here.

How can I apply?

Online applications will be accepted from Monday, November 2 through Monday, November 9. All awarded funds must be spent by December 30, 2020.


Our team at blumshapiro is working every day to provide you with the latest information pertaining to the individual industries in which you operate.

You can find real-time updates within the following links:

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