October 30, 2020 – Today Governor Gina Raimondo and Rhode Island Commerce announced a new program to expand access to and the efficacy of remote work to further fight the spread of COVID-19. The effort will help fund the purchase of hardware, software and internet access to support Rhode Island workers and businesses.
"As we continue to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases, we're encouraging all Rhode Islanders who can work from home to do so," said Governor Raimondo. "This funding will allow employers to ensure that their workforce has the tools that they need to continue working remotely as we work to reduce the spread of this virus."
A total of $5 million has been made available to support businesses moving employees to remote work or increasing productivity in order to keep them remote. These funds can help support purchase of things like laptops and printers, subscriptions to necessary software products, and/or internet access. The program will aim to support businesses with two to 100 employees. "We know that businesses are adapting to maintain productivity while keeping their employees safe," said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "This program will help businesses move in the digital direction and, as a result, help drive COVID out of our state."
A preliminary interest form is available on http://commerceri.com. Those interested in participating should apply by filling out the web form on the Rhode Island Commerce website. Businesses seeking free tech support and training may also contact Commerce here.
This grant program is one tool designed to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Take It Outside initiative announced awards to 111 intermediary organizations, totaling $6 million to help businesses create al fresco economic opportunities.
The Restore Rhode Island small business grant program recently announced the doubling of grant awards, a streamlined application process, and increased eligibility. To date more than 1,700 businesses have received funding, totaling more than $17 million in grants.
Additionally, Business Adaptation grants of up to $50,000 are now available to help companies dramatically adapt business models and pivot to stay afloat.
Businesses with questions on these programs or any other Commerce initiative are encouraged to reach out to (401) 521-HELP or email firstname.lastname@example.org.