Delaware Small Business Division reboots EDGE Grant program

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The Delaware Division of Small Business is re-starting EDGE Grants, a program to provide young Delaware companies with funds for growth.

EDGE (Encouraging Development, Growth, and Expansion) is aimed at early-stage businesses that can use the grants to level the playing field against larger, more established competitors.

Applications for the grant round will be accepted starting April 1 through 11:59 p.m. on April 30. Finalists will pitch their grant proposals to a panel of judges, with winners announced in the early summer.

With this third round, the program has doubled the number of grants to non-science/tech-based companies (Entrepreneur Class).

The Division of Small Business will award 10 Entrepreneur Class grants of up to $25,000 each and five STEM Class awards of up to $100,000 each.

Interested business owners can visit www.delbiz.com/edge for eligibility requirements, to download the grant application, and to connect with a Regional Business Manager for assistance. The site also has information on companies that previously received the grants.

EDGE is a matching grant program. The Division of Small Business matches a winning business’s investment on a 3-to-1 basis.

The business can spend the money on expenses that help improve its long-term chances of success, such as a marketing campaign to help acquire more customers or purchasing equipment that can increase production capacity.

Since EDGE launched in 2019, almost $1.5 million has been awarded to 20 promising Delaware small businesses in industries ranging from wearable technology to agribusiness to craft brewing.

“Re-launching EDGE at this time is part of the State’s effort to help small businesses as they again focus on the future, not just making it through the challenges of COVID-19,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “Small businesses are the backbone of Delaware’s economy, and an EDGE Grant will help them move forward in a big way.”

The application period for the original third round of EDGE had just wrapped up when the pandemic hit in March 2020, as the Division of Small Business pivoted from its traditional efforts and programming to focus on helping businesses that experienced a decrease in revenue due to Covid-19.

“Delaware’s entrepreneurs have found creative ways to keep their businesses going during the pandemic,” said Division of Small Business Director Jordan Schulties. “We know these funds can help many of those same businesses use that same inventive and adaptable spirit to grow even more from here.”

One grant recipient, MCET Technologies in Newark, makes sensors that can be woven into an article of clothing to provide data about range of motion for physical therapy patients. The company used the grant to license intellectual property from the University of Delaware and hire a business development person for exploring other applications such as monitoring the condition of bridges and pipelines. It will also use the grant to acquire equipment to scale up production.

“The EDGE Grant came along at a key time in our development,” said Erik Thostenson, president and co-founder. “It’s fantastic that Delaware recognizes small, growing companies like ours and offers programs to help them reach their potential.”

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