EDGE Grant program to reopen to benefit promising early-stage Delaware small businesses

Applications will be accepted April 1-30 

After a difficult year for Delaware small businesses, the Division of Small Business is re-starting EDGE Grants, an innovative, competitive program to provide young Delaware companies with funds to help them expand their business.

EDGE (Encouraging Development, Growth, and Expansion) grows Delaware’s economy by providing funding to promising early-stage businesses to level the playing field against larger, more established competitors.

Applications for the grant round will be accepted starting April 1 through 11:59 p.m. on April 30. Finalists will, as before, pitch their grant proposals to a panel of expert judges with winners announced in the early summer.

As Governor Carney announced in January’s State of the State address, EDGE has been expanded. With this third round, the program has doubled the number of grants to non-science/tech-based companies (Entrepreneur Class).

The Division of Small Business will award 10 Entrepreneur Class grants of up to $25,000 each and five STEM Class awards of up to $100,000 each.

“Re-launching EDGE at this time is part of the State’s effort to help small businesses as they again focus on the future, not just making it through the challenges of COVID-19,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “Small businesses are the backbone of Delaware’s economy, and an EDGE Grant will help them move forward in a big way.”

EDGE is a matching grant program. The Division of Small Business matches a winning business’s investment on a 3-to-1 basis.

The business can spend the money on expenses that help improve the company’s long-term chances of success, such as a marketing campaign to help acquire more customers or purchasing a needed piece of equipment that can increase production capacity.

Since EDGE launched in 2019, almost $1.5 million has been awarded to 20 promising Delaware small businesses in industries ranging from wearable technology to agribusiness to craft brewing.

The application period for the original third round of EDGE had just wrapped up when the pandemic hit in March 2020, as the Division of Small Business pivoted from its traditional efforts and programming to focus on helping businesses that experienced a significant decrease in revenue due to COVID-19.

“Delaware’s entrepreneurs have found creative ways to keep their businesses going during the pandemic,” said Division of Small Business Director Jordan Schulties. “We know these funds can help many of those same businesses use that same inventive and adaptable spirit to grow even more from here.”

Previous grantees have used their EDGE Grants to do just that.

MCET Technologies in Newark makes sensors that can be woven into an article of clothing to provide data about the range of motion for physical therapy patients. The company used the grant to license intellectual property from the University of Delaware and hire a business development person for exploring other applications such as monitoring the condition of bridges and pipelines. It will also use the grant to acquire equipment to scale up production.

“The EDGE Grant came along at a key time in our development,” said Erik Thostenson, president and co-founder. “It’s fantastic that Delaware recognizes small, growing companies like ours and offers programs to help them reach their potential.”

Businesses should visit www.delbiz.com/edge for eligibility requirements, to download the grant application, and to connect with a Regional Business Manager for assistance.