COVID-19 SUPPORT - Business Funding Draft - Rhode Island Commerce

Funding for small business

Información en espanol.

The primary source of funding during COVID-19 are the U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). You can learn about those here.

Listed below are additional, non-SABA funding resources for small businesses to assist them in the wake of the economic challenges presented by the pandemic. Bookmark this page and check back often, as we will continue to update this information. Please scroll down to see all programs.

Providence Commercial Corridor Micro-Business Loan Program

The Providence Commercial Corridor Micro-Business Loan Fund will provide financing to micro-businesses to help address safety measures needed for reopening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Fund will be housed and managed by the Providence Revolving Fund, it is being launched in collaboration between the Providence Revolving Fund and the City Council. The commercial corridors in the pilot phase of this program are Broad Street, Cranston Street, Elmwood Avenue, Broadway (West of I-95), and Westminster Street (West of I-95) in the City of Providence.

Providence Commercial Corridor Micro-Business Loan Program has been capitalized with a matching grant from the Providence City Council of $100,000 and an initial $5,000 grant from Customers Bank — providing over $200,000.00 in micro-loans to our most vulnerable businesses. Additionally, 30% of the Fund will be set aside for Women/Minority-owned businesses.

Eligible businesses include service, retail, and manufacturing companies that employ fewer than ten full-time employees, earn less than $250,000.00 annually, and are located on or near the pilot commercial corridors. Businesses in these areas can apply for loans ranging from $500 to $5,000.00. Loans are available for any physical alterations needed to be compliant with the Rhode Island Department of Health and Commerce RI guidelines for reopening. Additionally, up to 25% of loan funds can be used for PPE for staff. Credit history will not affect the ability to obtain a loan, and collateral will not be required.

Forms and Information

Frequently Asked Questions / Preguntas frecuentes

Download “CommercialCorridors-Micro-Business-Loan-FAQ-EN.pdf” in English
Descargar “CommercialCorridors-Micro-Business-Loan-FAQ-EN.pdf” en español

Loan Application / Solicitud de préstamo

Download “PRF-CommercialCorridor-Micro-Business-Loan-APP-EN.pdf” in English
Descargar “PRF-CommercialCorridor-Micro-Business-Loan-APP-ES.pdf” en español

Links / Enlaces

City Council’s Website about the program

Microenterprise Stabilization Grant Program

Rhode Island’s microenterprise stabilization grant program is designed to assist small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and left out of federal stimulus programs to-date. The program will provide grants of up to $5,000 to qualifying microenterprises. Funds may be used for working capital to cover business costs, such as rent, staffing, utilities.


To qualify, you must be a bona fide business entity with between two and five employees in a participating municipality (below), and one or more of the business’s employees must be an owner. The business owner(s)’ total household income must be 80% or less of their area median income, based on family size. You can view 80% of the area median income for Rhode Island regions here.

All applications will be processed via participating municipalities, which are:

  • Barrington
  • Bristol
  • Central Falls
  • Cumberland
  • Hopkinton
  • Middletown
  • Newport
  • North Providence
  • North Smithfield
  • Smithfield
  • South Kingstown
  • Warren
  • West Warwick
  • Westerly

If your business is in one of the participating towns above, please reach out directly for more information on how to apply, view each town’s contact information here

Don’t see the city or town in which your business is located listed here? Sign up to receive email updates on new additions to the program here.

Application materials

When you apply you will be asked to provide the following documents:

  • Driver’s license or state-issued photo ID
  • Personal tax returns for all adults filing separately (2018 or 2019)
  • Business tax returns (2018 or 2019)
  • Copies of payrolls for most recent pay period and pay period ending on/before 3/7/2020
  • Detailed summary of revenue for impacted period in 2020 (e.g., March), and same period in 2018, 2019

Contact your town directly if you would like to apply here.

Translated materials

Click on the below for this information in other languages:

Marketing and web development grants for exporters

If you are a small business and an exporter, the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant can provide you with funding to increase exports. As part of the CARES Act, the SBA has increased the maximum STEP grant reimbursement to eligible small businesses for website development and for design of marketing materials from $3000 to $6000. (Reimbursement is based on 50%-75% of the total cost, up to the maximum of $6000.)

With the grant funding, companies can engage with outside consultants and firms to help develop marketing strategies and materials for international customers. You can review the program guidelines for other ideas of ways to use STEP funding here.

For more information and to enroll in STEP, contact, Linda Woulfe, STEP Program Director, at 401-232-6525 or at

Quick Links

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