Restore RI grant program to expand to sole proprietors, larger companies

PROVIDENCE – The state’s grant program for small businesses that have lost revenue during the pandemic will be expanded to help both smaller and larger companies, according to Matt Sheaff, director of communications and stakeholder outreach for R.I. Commerce Corp.

The Restore RI program will begin accepting applications from sole proprietors, as well as companies with up to 50 employees, at the end of next week, Sheaff told Providence Business News on Wednesday. The grant program, which launched in early August, was originally limited to businesses with one to 20 workers.

Roughly 800 small businesses with COVID-19-related revenue losses have received grants through the program over the last six weeks, with an average grant size of $9,000, Sheaff said. The $7 million in grants distributed still leaves roughly $42 million available, based on the original $50 million allocation for the program. 

The exact amount of grant money depends on each company’s employee level and lost revenue. Those in “severely impacted” industries such as retail, food services and arts and entertainment must prove at least 30% revenue loss. Until now, those in other eligible industries must demonstrate a 50% loss in revenue, although the minimum percentage of lost revenue will be reduced as part of the expanded program parameters, Sheaff said.

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More information on new eligibility guidelines as well as a streamlined application process will be available on R.I. Commerce’s website by next week. The online application may close temporarily prior to the release of the updated version, Sheaff said.

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

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