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First round of new coronavirus relief going out to small businesses

Delaware Public Media

Delaware small businesses are set to receive the first round of state loans offering additional pandemic relief.

A total of 741 Delaware businesses share $25.7 million in CARES Act funding funneled mostly through the state and about 10 percent coming from New Castle County.

The average grant award is about $20,000, with the average recipient making just under $325,000 in 2019 revenue.

About 40 percent of the funds went to businesses with fewer than 10 full-time employees.

“We know the need is significant,” Division of Small Business Director Damian DeStefano. “The last six, seven months has been a really difficult time for many, many businesses throughout the state, but I think it’s hit some of our smaller, family-owned businesses the hardest.”

The application period for the next round of grants starts Thursday, and another round is scheduled for November. Each round is for $30 million. The leftover $4.3 million from the first round rolls over into the next two.

DeStefano says his Division is working with small businesses to put them in the best position to qualify. He says some made technical errors and missed out on the first round.

“People submitted temporary business licenses from earlier this year that were expired. Sometimes you get the temporary businesses license and they thought it was the permanent one, so they were submitting that,” said DeStefano. “Not submitting a complete federal tax return, which allows us to do the work we need to do which is to make sure we’re not giving money out to someone who isn’t who they say they are.”   

About 79% of the first-round funds are going to businesses in industries most affected by the pandemic including restaurants, retail and childcare.

DeStafano says the state does not have data available to show how many Delaware businesses have closed permanently since the start of the pandemic.

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