Start-up companies in need of funding can now apply to compete for an Encouraging Development, Growth and Expansion (EDGE) Grant from the Delaware Division of Small Business.
The division will be accepting EDGE Grant applications until March 31 from early-stage businesses throughout Delaware.
Businesses that are less than five years old and employ no more than 10 employees are eligible to apply for an EDGE Grant. The grants are awarded through a competitive selection process. Five STEM-based companies can receive up to $100,000 for eligible expenses while five Entrepreneur Class (non-STEM) businesses can receive up to $50,000.
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 EDGE grant funds on expenses that help improve the company’s long-term chances of success, such as a marketing campaign to help acquire more customers or purchasing a needed piece of equipment that can increase production capacity.
Applications for the competition round will be accepted from March 1 through March 31 at 5 p.m. Finalists will pitch their grant proposals to a panel of expert judges with winners announced in the summer.
“Delaware has an amazing community of entrepreneurs who stake their future on following their passion and starting their own business,” Secretary of State Jeff Bullock said. “By providing significant capital to these early-stage companies, the state of Delaware is able to help them reach their potential and show their owners that we value their efforts in starting and growing their businesses here in Delaware.”
“The EDGE Grant program has been very popular with Delaware small business owners because these grants have helped promising small companies in a variety of industries reach the next level and compete with larger companies,” Division of Small Business Director Jordan Schulties said. “I urge eligible small business owners interested in the program to reach out today to one of our Regional Business Managers for help with the application process.”
Since EDGE launched in 2019, $2.75 million has been awarded to 50 Delaware small businesses in industries ranging from renewable energy technology to fitness centers to restaurants. This will be the fifth round of the program since its launch.
One of the businesses that previously received funding is Elyte Energy, which uses patent-protected hydrogen technology to build a highly efficient power supply for generators and other fixed and portable devices. Elyte Energy was awarded a $100,000 STEM EDGE grant in the last round of funding. The company is using its grant to acquire laboratory space and equipment to develop a commercial prototype of its hydrogen-based system to power generators for the outdoor industry.
“Startup companies like ours need funding if they are going to grow,” Dr. Jalaal A. Hayes, Ph.D., Elyte Energy’s founder and CEO said. “The $100,000 EDGE grant we received from the Delaware Division of Small Business will be crucial in helping us expand operations and build a commercial prototype to help meet our goal of making green energy available for the recreational vehicle (RV) market.”
Businesses can visit the Division of Small Business website for eligibility requirements, to download the grant application and to connect with a Regional Business Manager for application assistance.