Micro-Enterprise Grants Available for Providence

October 29, 2020 — Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island, together with the City of Providence, is offering working capital grants to qualifying small business micro-enterprises adversely impacted by COVID-19. The grant program, using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will support low to moderate income entrepreneurs and business owners in Providence.

This one-time micro-enterprise grant program is intended to assist small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and left out of federal stimulus programs. Up to $10,000 will go to qualified low-moderate income businesses for working capital and business expenses such as rent, staffing, utilities, and retail location modifications. LISC Rhode Island will conduct the fully independent verification and application process.

An informational session to address frequently asked questions was hosted on Thursday, October 22, and will be shared on the City of Providence Facebook sites for easy reference. PowerPoint Q/A session: Micro-E Info Session_October 2020 FINAL


• You must be a bona fide, for-profit business entity located in Providence.
• You must be in good standing with the State and City (be current on taxes; maintain active and valid licenses, if applicable; and not party to litigation involving the State or City).
• You must be able to document a loss of at least $1,000 due to COVID-19.
• You must have been established in 2019 or earlier and have an annual gross revenue greater than $25,000 as documented on your 2019 tax return.
• Your business may have no more than 5 employees and one or more of the business’s employees must be an owner.
• The business owner(s)’ total income must be 80% or less than the AMI based on family size. In Providence, those limits are:

1 person  2 people  3 people  4 people  5 people  6 people  7 people 
$48,750  $55,700  $62,650  $69,600  $75,200  $80,750  $86,350 

Excluded Businesses:

• Cannabis-related businesses
• Real estate rentals/sales business
• Businesses owned by persons under age 18
• Businesses that are franchises or chains
• Liquor stores
• Weapons/firearms dealers
• Lobbyists
• Persons operating as independent consultants/contractors and providing services to a single entity
• Home-based businesses that are restricted to patrons below the age of 18.

In addition to the documents required in the application, all applications must also present: 

o Driver’s license or state-issued photo ID
o Personal tax returns for all adults filing separately (2018 or 2019)
o Business tax returns (2018 or 2019)
o Copies of payrolls for most recent pay period and pay period ending on/before 10/02/2020
o Detailed summary of revenue for impacted period in 2020 (e.g., March or April), and same period in 2018 or 2019

The grant application is available here.  Only complete applications will be considered. 


LISC Rhode Island will follow up with applicants in 7-10 business days to indicate whether the completed application is among those that will be considered, as well as to notify those applicants that have not met the qualifications. Neither LISC nor the City will be able to respond to individual inquiries.