COVID-19 Resources for Social Entrepreneurs

Here is a list of resources for small businesses and organizations that may be useful to SEG’s social enterprise community during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will update it as resources expand, so check back often!

Assistance to businesses and organizations
› General information about COVID-19

For general information about COVID-19, please visit the CDC or the Rhode island Department of Health

› RI Commerce resources during COVID-19 (English/Español)

Go to the Commerce RI page for information on the Restore RI grant program, disaster loans, tech support, business guidelines, emergency grants and funding, relief for employees, and many more crucial resources for RI businesses. In particular, see this page for specific RI Commerce funding resources to assist small businesses, including the Microenterprise (MicroE) Stabilization Grant Program and LISC Small Business Relief Grants, among others.

› Tech support from RI Commerce

Need help setting up work-from-home technology? Get free expert advice. RI Commerce is providing 45-minute tech support sessions for small businesses and sole proprietors via zoom or conference call. 

› Legal help

Providence-based Howell Legal is reaching out to local entrepreneurs to offer legal expertise and connections to resources. If you contact them, mention SEG!

› Paycheck Protection Program

The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to help small businesses with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and self-employed persons) and private nonprofit organizations keep their workers on the payroll. The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 60% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll).

› Facebook para empresarios latinos

Rhode Island Small Business Development Center: El SBDC de Rhode Island ha creado un grupo de Facebook para empresarios latinos que incluye información y recursos sobre COVID-19 para propietarios de pequeñas empresas.

› Rapid Response grants

The New England Grassroots Environment Fund is making their Rapid Response Seed Grant program available to grassroots groups responding to local needs and building resilience in their community in response to the COVID19 pandemic. Mutual Aid Infrastructure grants: coming out of the first rounds of Community of Practice conversations, Grassroots Fund staff will design a Summer funding opportunity to help mutual aid efforts formalize their work. Funding priorities will be determined in collaboration with local organizers. 

› Rhode Island Food Policy Council resources

In response to the spread of COVID-19, the Rhode Island Food Policy Council is aggregating extensive information on available food access and food business resources and opportunities. It covers food access, the food business sector, resources for consumers, info for agriculture and fisheries operations, and general food systems resources.

› RI Superior Court Business Recovery Plan

Presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney has announced the start of a business protection program, the Business Recovery Plan, in response to disruptions caused by COVID-19. The court will provide supervised protections for Rhode Island businesses so they can remain operational, access new working capital, and pay debts. Learn more here.

Pawtucket emergency small-business loan program

The Pawtucket Business Development Corp. has created a new emergency loan program for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is open to Pawtucket-based businesses with 25 or fewer employees that can demonstrate a loss due to COVID-19. The loan may be used to pay for day-to-day operations, including payroll and rent. The emergency loans can be up to $10,000 each and carry a 2% interest rate. Monthly payments will be deferred for one year and the recipient will have two years to repay the loan once repayment begins.

› Eastern Bank Small Business Impact Loan Fund

Part of Eastern Bank’s response to COVID-19 is a Small Business Impact Loan Fund that will provide $5 million in lending to small businesses who are existing customers in need of working capital to help fund their operations. Terms are flexible, and customers can borrow up to $25,000. Learn more here.

› Grants for minority and women owned businesses

Designer of Pyer Moss, Kerby Jean-Reymond, has set aside $50,000 for “minority and women-owned small creative businesses who are currently in distress.” Learn more here.

› MainVest loans for restaurants and other brick + mortars

Beyond its normal fundraising offerings, crowdfunding platform MainVest has launched a $2,000, zero-interest, 120-day loan for restaurants or other brick and mortars affected by COVID-19. Learn more here.

› Save Small Business Fund

Sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in partnership with Vistaprint. The fund provides $5,000 in short-term relief to employers across the U.S., including chambers of commerce. These one-time supplemental cash grants are for businesses that have between 3 and 20 employees and operate in an economically vulnerable community. Before starting the application, you will be asked for the zip code where you are registered by the IRS as doing business, which will confirm your eligibility.

› Hello Alice COVID-19 Emergency Grant

Hello Alice with the support of Verizon, Silicon Valley Bank, Ebay, and others is offering $10,000 emergency grants, being distributed immediately to small business owners impacted by this pandemic.

› The Doonie Fund

The Doonie Fund makes small micro-investments in Black women entrepreneurs.

General assistance
› Guide for older adults

The Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging has published this handy resource guide for older adults.

› RI Delivers

A list of delivery services available to Rhode Islanders, hosted by the RI Office of Health Aging.

› Applying for unemployment

Out of work in RI due to COVID-19? Here’s what you’re eligible for. A useful guide from WPRI news about applying for unemployment or temporary disability benefits. Also, gig economy workers, contract workers, workers for hire, small business owners (if their main income is from their business), and the self-employed can apply for emergency unemployment benefits online. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program was established by Congress to provide Unemployment Assistance benefits to individuals separated from employment, as a result of COVID-19, that do not qualify for traditional Unemployment Insurance or Unemployment Compensation. Get more details and apply.

› Food access (English/Español)

The city of Providence shared this list of organizations that are making sure all Rhode Islanders have access to the food they need while preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

› Internet access

Internet connectivity: the Cox Connect2Compete program is helping families in need get connected to the internet through its Cox COVID-19 Response. Apply by May 15.

› Free meals for children

Due to the closure of schools, free “Grab and Go” meals are available for children throughout Rhode Island. The RI Department of Health has a list of free food sites for children.

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