Draft-Emergency grants and funding | Rhode Island Commerce

Emergency grants and funding

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.

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.

Microenterprise Stabilization Grant Program


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
  • Jamestown
  • 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:

Other emergency grants and funding

COVID-19 Temporary Worker Program

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) received a Disaster National Dislocated Worker Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to fund approximately 43,000 hours of temporary labor for local businesses and employers providing essential services during this period of national emergency. Examples of essential services include but are not limited to the production of equipment critical to the COVID-19 response, as well as medical, sanitization, grocery, and delivery services. Usage of this program will come at little to no cost to employers.

Employers interested in utilizing this program to request temporary workers can apply here.

DLT has partnered with Skills for Rhode Island’s Future (SkillsRI) to assist in the implementation of this program. SkillRI is a non-profit organization that specializes in recruiting talent for businesses and helping unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders find work. DLT will conduct an initial review of applications submitted through the form and will then work with SkillsRI to determine the feasibility of fulfilling each request. SkillsRI will assist in the identification of dislocated workers who are able to fill temporary positions and will serve as the employer of record (paying wages, taxes and relevant insurances) during the period of temporary employment.

For general inquiries, please contact Olivia Byron, Coordinator of Labor and Training Operations via e-mail at olivia.byron@dlt.ri.gov.

Neighborhood Development Fund

The Rhode Island office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and its Neighborhood Development Fund (NDF) is inviting proposals from Rhode Island community based organizations that have the development of affordable housing as a primary line of business to apply for up to $100,000 in funding. Proposals are due by close of business May 14, 2019. Learn more and apply here.

For nonprofits

Rhode Island nonprofit organizations at the forefront of COVID-19 response can apply for grants from the Rhode Island Foundation/United Way COVID-19 Response Fund here or here in Spanish.

Grants for arts and culture workers

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts has established an artist relief fund which will award grants of up to $1,000 to help artists, teaching artists, arts administrators and other freelance arts and culture workers. Learn more here.

For businesses in East Providence

If you’re a business in East Providence, the East Providence Economic Development Commission is offering two different loans, each for up to $5,000.

The COVID-19 Job Retention Loan Program is for businesses with fewer than five employees able to show that jobs would have been lost without assistance. View the application here.

The COVID-19 Small Business Assistance loan is available for businesses with fewer than 10 employees. View the application here.

For businesses in Pawtucket

If you’re a business in Pawtucket, the Pawtucket Business Development Corporation is offering low-interest financing. Under the program, businesses with 25 or fewer employees negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak are eligible to apply for up to $10,000. Read more about the loan and view the full application here.

For businesses in Providence

If you’re a business in Providence, the Providence Business Loan Fund has announced temporary modifications to its fund to provide access to capital for eligible small businesses and immediate relief for existing borrowers. The modifications include smaller dollar amounts, working capital loans, closing cost caps, adding fees to loan balances, zero interest on loans for up to 12 months, and no payments for 6-12 months. Learn more and apply here.

Quick Links

SBA loan information:

Unemployment insurance and employer information:
Department of Labor and Training

Jobs available now:

Public health information:
Department of Health

Business regulations
Department of Business Regulation