More than half of Delaware's jobs created today are coming from small businesses, and state officials want to keep up the momentum. EDGE grants – encouraging development, growth and expansion – are a new source of capital for new small businesses startups, offering $100,000 and $50,000 grants in the first round announced May 6.
Gov. John Carney kicked off the new grant program as part of National Small Business Week by visiting AgroLab in Harrington.
“Job creation is the driver for job growth in our state,” said Carney, before touring the soil fertility lab that employs seven people.
AgroLab did not receive an EDGE grant, but it is the type of company, Carney said, he envisions will take advantage of the new funding.
To qualify, a company cannot be in operation for more than five years and have assets more that $500,000. The company must employ fewer than 10 people with more than half of them employed in Delaware and the businesses must have the majority of its business in Delaware. A company that has received a Delaware Strategic Fund grant also does not qualify.
Five grants of $100,000 will be given to science and research-based businesses, and five grants of $50,000 will be given to other entrepreneurial businesses.
The grants provide a 3-to-1 match, which means for every dollar the business puts up, they get three from the grant.
“They still have to put up some resources,” Carney said. “There's a whole range of ways businesses can get capital.”
Carney said a company earning a $50,000 grant could use it for new equipment or technology – expenses used to start a business, not ongoing expenses.
Damian DeStefano, director of the Delaware Division of Small Business, said the division is committed to help businesses thrive in Delaware. “With this tool, we are providing resources that will help these businesses find long-term success,” he said.