Commerce RI launches grant program for microbusinesses

PROVIDENCE – R.I. Commerce Corp. recently launched a new grant program designed to help microbusinesses largely left out of federal relief programs

The Microenterprise Stabilization Grant Program opened April 22 and offers up to $5,000 to eligible microbusinesses in certain municipalities to cover capital costs such as rent, staffing and utilities. To qualify, businesses must have between two and five employees, at least one of whom is an owner whose total household income does not exceed 80% of area median income limits.

The program is being administered through local municipalities, each of which has received a $50,000 allocation to distribute to applicants, according to Matt Sheaff, Commerce RI spokesman.

As of Tuesday, 14 municipalities were participating, based on those that expressed interest: 

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

The total $1.6 million funding came through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program, which allocates money to states and municipalities annually to support programs for low and middle-income residents. 

Information on how many applications had been submitted or grants allocated was not immediately available, as it varies by town.

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at