NOTE: The application period for this grant program is now closed. Awardees to be notified by October 1, 2021. Awardees will have until November 5, 2021 to complete their projects, with reimbursement checks to be mailed around the 1st and 15th of October and November.
Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) will oversee the Rochester Innovation Grant Program (RIGP). This program is part of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program approved by the City Council and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus pandemic.
To provide emergency assistance to small local businesses in Rochester adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the RIGP will provide grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses innovating their business model, approach, or services in response to the pandemic.
Grant funds will help businesses pay for new innovation projects, including (but not limited to) new websites for online ordering, physical space renovations, operations improvements, etc. Grants must be used to cover costs paid to a third party, and cannot be used for normal operational expenses, including (but not limited to) rent/mortgage payments, advertising fees, utilities, payments to suppliers, payroll expenses, other expenses incurred in the regular course of business, or any tax obligations. Providing this support will increase the capacity of small businesses with a permanent physical presence in the city to rebound from the current crisis and will help mitigate potential future scenarios.
A total of up to $209,000 is available for grant awards, with a priority given to historically under-served businesses (women-, military veteran-, and ethnic or racial minority-owned businesses). Any for-profit business started before July 1, 2021 is welcome to apply. Home-based businesses are eligible for this program.
Awards will be disbursed and administered by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI), a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization. Grant funds received by individual businesses shall be used to cover innovation expenses since July 1, 2021. Receipt of payment to a 3rd party must be provided to RAEDI and approved before grant funds will be disbursed to the business. These funds cannot be used to pay for expenses that are being funded by other COVID-19 related programs. These are grants and no repayment will be required; they are not loans.
Applications for the Rochester Innovation Grant Program open on Friday, September 3, 2021 at 12 noon, and will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, September 19, 2021. Applications will be processed over the following weeks, with awardees to be notified by October 1, 2021. Awardees will have until November 5, 2021 to complete their projects, with reimbursement checks to be mailed around the 1st and 15th of October and November.