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Funding Opportunities

Funding Opportunities

Learn about where you can access loans & grants to help during this pandemic.

There are a number of opportunities to receive COVID-19 related working capital for your small business or nonprofit. We are here to help you identify which funding opportunity is best for you, and assist you preparing and submitting your application.

We know this is a journey, but we will be by your side.

Call us at (203) 751-9550, (203) 353-1750, (860) 574-9246, or email cdidona@ctwbdc.org to book a no-cost, 1:1 counseling appointment to receive assistance with funding opportunities.

This page is being updated regularly so please continue to check back for more info, and scroll down for additional loan & grant opportunities.


*** LATEST UPDATES on PPP & EIDL Funds – As of April 27 ***

Initial funding for PPP and EIDL ran out on April 16, and additional funds for these programs were signed into law, with PPP applications accessible starting on Monday, April 27 at 10:30am read SBA announcement.

Businesses need to get on their application packages as soon as possible!  There are no substantive changes to the applications and necessary documentation from Round 1. See additional guides in next section.

If you applied for PPP and/or EIDL and have received no communications beyond a application confirmation number, check with your lender on the status of your application.  Typically, those that applied but were not approved with the first round of government funding will be on the top of the list for the next round.  Generally, you will not need to reapply, but this is each lender’s choice.  If you are not hearing anything back from your lender, apply with another lender, including fintech companies or community-based lenders such as credit unions & CDFIs.

The SBA recommends filing your PPP application with an approved Fintech lender for quicker processing – these include PayPal, QuickBooks, Square, OnDeck and Funding CircleOther Fintechs are working with SBA bank lenders to process loans rapidly, including Kabbage, Fundera, Lendio, Brex, Fundbox, Bluevine and Nav.

Most banks have a 4-stage process for processing PPP application, and unfortunately many businesses are stuck in Phase 1, and depending upon their place in the queue, their loan may never be processed at that bank.  Advice for those likely stuck in Phase 1 – apply elsewhere!

  1. Application Received
  2. Payroll Reviewed
  3. Awaiting SBA Approval
  4. Loan is funded

Those with complete applications upon submission will be most successful for receiving this Round 2 funding, which will go quickly.  If you are unable to get your application in, there is still hope – Congress is discussing additional funds and measures to support small businesses over the next few weeks, and WBDC is working to connect its community with other lenders in the State that provide SBA 7(a) loans, grants, and other capital opportunities.

CARES Act Funding – The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27, opening up additional funding opportunities for small businesses.  Key highlights:

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – This program provides up to $10 million in government-backed loans per eligible small business to help employers maintain payroll during this emergency. These emergency loans do not require a personal guarantee or collateral. They are offered at a max 10-year term with a max interest cap of 4%, zero loan fees and zero prepayment fees. In addition, a portion are forgivable when used to maintain payroll through June. Gather your financial documents and contact your banker to apply – sample application here. Review U.S. Treasury guidance on how to calculate payroll costs by business type here. Download Fact Sheet for borrowers here, and access more comprehensive FAQs for borrowers & lenders here. Read April 24th article and April 6th article in Entrepreneur magazine about preparing your PPP application, and this April 23rd article about how to get the second-round of PPP funds as a Sole Proprietor.

SBA Emergency Injury Grants – SBA is providing an emergency advance of up to $1,000 per employee to small businesses and private nonprofits harmed by COVID-19. Funds are deposited to your bank account within two weeks of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). The application portal for this forgivable grant is anticipated to reopen by Friday, May 1 here. Basic business/banking information required in a 2-page application. You can take advantage of this even if you decide not to go forward in accepting an EIDL.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) – SBA is providing small businesses and private nonprofits fixed low-interest disaster loans of up to $2 million, including up to $25,000 with no collateral. Loans are being approved simply with a credit score of at least 560, and loans smaller than $200K don’t require a personal guarantee.  Additionally, small businesses and private non-profits can receive an emergency advance (grant) of up to $1,000 per employee for a max of 10 employees within two weeks of applying for an EIDL.  Application portal is anticipated to reopen by Friday, May 1 here.

Quick Facts:

  1. These loans are open to individuals operating as sole proprietors or independent contractors as well.
  2. Businesses can receive both a PPP loan and an EIDL, as long as they’re not used to pay the same expenses.
  3. It’s okay to apply to multiple lenders – you will only sign closing docs with one lender with program (PPP or EIDL) however.

Download a simple summary of the CARES Act here, a more in-depth summary including how to calculate payroll costs for PPP here, and the complete small business owner’s guide to the CARES Act here

HEDCO DECD Line of Credit – The Hartford Economic Development Corporation (HEDCO) has partnered with the State of Connecticut, the CT Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) and the CT Minority Business Initiative to provide financial relief to Connecticut minority-owned and women-owned small businesses negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  Under this COVID-19 Business Response Program, a qualifying small business with 20 or fewer employees may apply for a potentially forgivable zero-interest Line of Credit for up to $20,000 to provide working capital.  The program is administered and underwritten by HEDCO, and WBDC is here to assist you with the application process.

On-demand webinar on this program can be accessed on-demand here – WBDC Business Advisors Sherry Konwerski and Kenyetta Banks are joined by DECD Commissioner Glendowlyn Thames, and HEDCO CEO Fernando Rosa, to discuss this line of credit and what you need to do to be ready to apply.


  1. Be a for-profit business with no more than 20 full-time and/or part-time employees
  2. Must be a minority-owned and/or woman-owned small business (minimum 51% of minority/woman ownership required)
  3. Be in good standing with the Department of Revenue Services (DRS)
  4. Have been conducting business for a minimum of 6 months

Application Requirements:

  1. One-Page Application (Download here)
  2. Profit and Loss Statement as of December 31, 2019 (Download template here)
  3. Year–to-date (YTD) Profit and Loss Statement as of March 31, 2020 (Download template here)
  4. Projected Cash Flow for 3 months (Download template here)
  5. Evidence that business is in good standing with CT DRS (Obtain letter here)
  6. Submit completed application along with afore-mentioned documents to COVID-19@hedcoinc.com, and copy kbanks@ctwbdc.org so we can help track your application.

APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY THURSDAY, APRIL 30! Contact Kenyetta Banks at (203) 751-9877 or kbanks@ctwbdc.org to book a no-cost, 1:1 counseling session to get your application package ready. Quick Facts:

  1. This opportunity is great for businesses that may not qualify for an SBA EIDL loan or PPP loan from their bank, or need supplementary funds to cover their immediate working capital needs. Businesses that receive funds from HEDCO are still eligible for other programs, including PPP and EIDL.
  2. There is no application fee, and closing costs of $250 can be included in your cash-flow projections.  (For instance, if you’re seeking $10,000 in funds, apply for $10,250).
  3. If you’re not going to use the funds in April-June, include the months you will use the funds on your Cash Flow Statement.  You cannot claim expenses prior to April 1, 2020.
  4. Funds are anticipated to be distributed via check within a week of receiving approval on a complete application package.
  5. Line of Credit is payable in full, 12 months from the date of closing.  However, the debt is eligible to be forgiven if you can demonstrate the funds were used to cover the first 3 months of expenditures due to COVID-19, and follow the guidelines set in HEDCO’s commitment letter on how the funds are to be used. In order to receive forgiveness, you must show documentation of expenditures in accordance with your cash flow projections.

Community Investment Corporation (CIC) Loans – CIC is an SBA-approved non-bank lender, and partner of WBDC, offering microloans  to multi-million-dollar commercial loans to businesses based in Connecticut and/or Rhode Island. They are committed to serving the under-served – in fact, over the past three years, 75% of CIC’s microloans went to start-up, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses. Learn more here.

MicroNOW Loans:  Get up to $15K in just 2 weeks, through fixed interest loan of 8.125% with no pre-payment penalty.

– Business open for at least 1 year
– Personal credit score of 650+
– Zero late payments in the last year

Three other business loan programs available, depending on your needs.

Hello Alice Business for All Emergency Grant – Hello Alice is offering $10K grants for small businesses (for-profit) severely impacted by COVID-19, along with ongoing support from the Hello Alice entrepreneur/small business community. Learn more and apply online here!  

You may be required to create a free online account with Hello Alice to complete the application, but doing so will also open you up to a host of resources.

No additional documentation is required to be provided at time of application. In addition to basic information about you, your business, and beliefs as they relate to your business and support for your business, the application will ask for the following in multiple-choice & short-paragraph form: most-pressing business expenses, anticipated capital needed, how you may have pivoted your business model, desired government support, and the biggest impact COVID-19 has had on your business.

Hello Alice also offers Business for All grants of up to $50,000 to a select few businesses and business support organizations each year.

City of Hartford Small Business Grants – A new $1 million emergency assistance program will provide grants of $5,000-$10,000 to at least 100 small businesses, with a particular focus on Hartford’s low-income neighborhoods as well as women-owned and minority-owned businesses.   This program is offered as a partnership between the City of Hartford, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, HEDCO Inc. and Capital for Change, the community development financial institution that will administer the grants. Application opens on May 4.  Read more here.

Stay tuned for more information – last updated 4/22.  WBDC and our sister site in Hartford can help you prepare your application.

Another grant program with up to $300,000 in funding will open in the coming weeks to help Hartford’s hardest-hit businesses reopen after coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

LISC Small Business Recovery Grants – Verizon, Sam’s Club, U.S. Bank Foundation and MetLife Foundation are partnering with LISC to offer grants of up to $10,000 to for-profit businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19—especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. Funds can be used for paying rent and utilities, meeting payroll, paying outstanding debt to vendors, and other immediate operational costs. Learn more, read FAQs, or click here to complete your application.

First round of applications closed on April 4, and Round 2 application period open from April 23-28. Applicants that did not get Round 1 funding must reapply to be eligible for Round 2.

Bonus for those looking to help more small businesses get funding:

Verizon recently launched #PayItForwardLIVE, a weekly livestream from big names to pay it forward for small businesses. Viewers can tune in every Tuesday and Thursday at 8PM ET/ 5PM PT on @Verizon’s Twitter, Yahoo, Twitch, and Fios Channel 501. As people support their favorite small businesses with #PayItForwardLIVE, Verizon will commit an additional $10 per use of the hashtag, up to $2.5 million, for a total of up to $5 million in support.

Businesses and individuals can also donate to the LISC Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund, to help with the goal of raising up to $100 million to be invested in urban and rural communities across the U.S.

Kiva Loans – As a community-based lending non-profit, Kiva is offering 0% loans of up to $15,000 to entrepreneurs.  Applications are a multi-stage process – if you’re pre-qualified, you will  fill out an application.  Then there is an opportunity to prove your creditworthiness by inviting friends and family to lend to you, and then go public on Kiva, making your product visible to over 1.6 million lenders worldwide.  You are required to create an account with Kiva to access the application.  Learn more.

Application Details:
– Basic info about you and your business, including proof of business status
– Basic financial about you and your business, including credit score, income, expenses
– PayPal account (You can create one right before applying!)

Note:  While Kiva’s application process does not require a credit score, collateral, tax returns, business plan or social security number, providing this information may increase the loan size you could be approved for.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Save Small Business Fund – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is offering grants of $5,000 to small businesses or chambers of commerce financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The application is short and easy to complete, and all you’ll need is your business’s W-9.  Learn more.

Eligible businesses:
– Employ between 3 and 20 people
– Be located in an economically vulnerable community (Most of CT’s cities and towns qualify!)
– Have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic

Effective April 21, the program is not accepting any new applications due to overwhelming demand.  Over 15,000 applications were received within minutes of it opening on April 20.  Read letter from President of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. 

CT Manufacturing Innovation Fund Voucher Program (MVP) – The Connecticut Center for Advaned Technology (CCAT) in partnership with CT Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) are offering eligible companies vouchers up to $50,000 for the purchase of specialize equipment and expertise that will help improve operations, including marketing, LEAN, compliance, and other technical needs. Learn more.

The program has received requests in excess of the total amount of funding that is presently available.  Although the program is still accepting applications, all new applications will be placed in a queue as they work through the applications in hand.

The Red Backpack Fund – The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation is offering $5K grants for women-owned small businesses impacted by COVID-19 to help alleviate immediate needs, along with a free annual All-Access Pass to MasterClass.

Eligible businesses:
– Less than 50 employees
– Revenues less than $5 million
– In good standing
– Incorporated as a legal entity

Applications opened April 6, and will reopen on May 4, June 1, July 6, and August 3. It’s easy to apply!  Click here to learn more and complete your application.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program – Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where it operates, to support those experiencing disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  It can help to cover costs such as keeping your workforce going, helping with rent costs, connecting with more customers, or covering operational costs.

Eligible businesses:
– Have between 2 and 50 employees
– Have been in business for over a year
– Have experienced challenges from COVID-19 – Be in or near a location where Facebook operates*

*Currently this opportunity is not open to businesses operating only in CT, but is open to those operating in the NY Metropolitan Area, including Westchester County, the Bronx, Queens, Richmond County and King County.  Additional locations may become available.

Application Overview:

  1.  Provide at least one of the following documents: Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), Partnership documents, Business license, Proof of incorporation, or Official registration
  2. Provide brief summary of your business, and how you would use the cash grant, including how you would use your grant funds to make an impact on your business or in your community. For example, you could use the grant to continue paying employees, or to provide critical services through pickup and delivery methods.
  3. It takes a few weeks for applications to be reviewed, follow-up questions to be asked, and grant recipients to be announced.

Applications are now open!  Learn more and apply here.

CT Recovery Bridge Loans – Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is offering small businesses in the state with 100 or fewer employees 12-month, 0% interest Bridge Loans of up to $75,000 with personal guarantee. Read more here.

DECD has partnered with two private agencies to help process and distribute the $50 million worth of bridge loans to small businesses.  Distributions are expected to begin April 30. Read more.

Effective March 27 at 6pm, this loan program was closed to new applicants, having served its purpose till the CARES Act became law.  Over 4,000 applications were received in 48 hours.

Don’t forget to bookmark this page, and our COVID-19 Resources page to stay in the know. Also follow us on social media to get the latest updates.  Our 2pm daily update brought to you on Facebook and LinkedIn.