Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island and Citizens Bank introduced a Small Business Recovery Grant Program aimed at small businesses in Rhode Island that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The grants for amounts up to $7,500 will help hard-hit businesses limit layoffs and continue to provide employee benefits, including health insurance, and mitigate the economic instability currently faced by so many of community businesses.
In the past two weeks, several additional small grant or loan programs have been offered to the small business community in Rhode Island, and each time the funds are depleted very quickly, underscoring the acute needs of that segment of the economy. According to the Small Business Association, in Rhode Island nearly 53% of all private sector employees work in a small business setting.
Small businesses represent an important economic engine in Rhode Island, and is particularly critical as a way to provide economic stability for many minority- and immigrant families. With the closing of many non-essential businesses, much of that economic activity has come to a grinding halt, while the bills still pile up. The CARES Act will provide Small Business Administration loans, a Paycheck Protection Program and other economic relief, many of our smaller and more vulnerable businesses will not be able to access federal programs, or will be unable to qualify for or support the repayment of loans. Grants, as well as robust technical assistance, will be critical to the survival of these businesses.