WOONSOCKET, R.I.: Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt announced today the launching of a new grant and loan program to support small businesses as they attempt to reopen and rebound from the Coronavirus Pandemic. As stated by the Mayor, “My Administration is acutely aware of the financial impact that the pandemic is having on the City’s small businesses. It is imperative that we assist these businesses as they reopen their doors and bring back employees.”

The new program is called “Jump Start” and is designed to provide both grants and loans to eligible small businesses. The “Jump Start” program will offer grants of up to $5,000 to assist small businesses to make purchases, investments and improvements to their facilities as required by the Governor’s reopening directives. Eligible businesses will also be able to borrow up to $15,000 for working capital. The working capital loans can be used for expenses such as back rent, back utilities, supplies, and inventory.

The “Jump Start” program is being funded through a special Federal appropriation under the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG). As stated by the Mayor, “The City received a supplemental appropriation under the 2019-2020 CDBG program to address specific
COVID related impacts. My Administration has been working with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the design of the “Jump Start” Program. We are pleased that HUD has just approved this new initiative, which will result in providing our small businesses with over $400,000 in financial assistance.”

The City will be launching an online portal that small businesses can access to qualify for the grants and/or loans. Once it is determined that the business is eligible, the City’s Department of Planning and Development will assist in the completion and documentation for financial assistance. As stated by the Mayor, “We expect to launch the online portal in one week. A link to the online portal will be accessible on the City of Woonsocket’s website.”