The state Department of Economic and Community Development's $50 million CT CARES Small Business Grant Program was designed to help smaller employers recover from the ongoing challenges of COVID-19.

Eligible businesses and nonprofits can receive a one-time $5,000 grant and all funds will be disbursed to approved applicants by December 30, 2020.

The online loan application will be available from 8 pm, Nov. 12. DECD expects to close applications Nov. 19, although that could happen earlier, depending on demand.

 Eligibility Requirements

  • Business must have no more than 20 total full-time employees in 2019 across all of their Connecticut locations, or have total 2019 payroll of less than $1.5 million (annualized). FTE and payroll include affiliated companies.
  • Businesses must be able to demonstrate a 20% or more loss in revenue year to date as of Sept. 30, 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.
  • Business must have been established by Oct. 1, 2019 and still be active (as verified by the state Department of Revenue Services).
  • Home-based businesses are eligible.
  • Eligible entities: for-profit businesses that use any type of incorporation, as well as 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(6), 501(c)(7), and 501(c)(19) nonprofit organizations.
  • The business must remain a viable business, be planning to reopen, and be planning to rehire any workers let go due to COVID as business conditions recover, and have a material financial need that cannot be overcome without the grant of emergency relief funds.
  • Companies must be in good tax standing with DRS or current on a payment plan or consent to use a portion and/or all of their grant to remedy the delinquency.
  • Sole proprietorships are eligible.
  • Those who already received federal CARES Act, PPP or EIDL assistance are eligible, but the grant cannot be used for the same expenses incurred or expected to occur between Mar. 1, 2020 through Dec. 30, 2020. 

Eligibility Exclusions

Businesses in which the majority of revenue is earned from the following activities:

  • Medical marijuana; liquor stores and alcohol distributors; adult businesses such as strip clubs; vape retailers; tobacco shops and smoking lounges; businesses having to do with gambling; gun stores and ranges; cash advance, check cashing, or pawn shops; bail bonds; collection agencies or services; and auction or bankruptcy or fire or "lost-our-lease" or "going-out-of-business" or similar sale.
  • Business establishments that are 50% or more owned by another establishment such that the FTE count for the umbrella establishment (when counting the FTEs of all subsidiaries in which the umbrella establishment has 50%+ stakes) is more than 500. For example, this would include non-franchised outlets of major national food and retail chains.

Eligible Activities & Uses

Grants can be used for:

Funding priorities:

  • $25 million to businesses/nonprofits located in the state’s distressed municipalities
  • $25 million to businesses/nonprofits located outside of the state’s distressed municipalities
  • Applicants will only be allowed a single grant regardless of multiple locations
  • All funds will be disbursed to approved applicants by December 30, 2020

For additional assistance, please contact the DECD small business hotline (860.500.2333;