The Division of Small Business (DSB) hosted a webinar for businesses interested in applying for EDGE Grants on April 19, 2021. Participants asked numerous great questions that could not be addressed in just one hour. Below are questions and answers taken from the Q&A and Chat boxes.
Why was the Entrepreneur Class amount reduced by 50% from previous rounds?
Through a large, statewide survey, DSB asked non-STEM business owners if they preferred splitting the $250,000 available five ways at $50,000 a piece or 10 ways at $25,000. The overwhelming response was for the latter, so a change was made to give more opportunities to win instead of fewer.
I am unable to submit by the April 30 deadline. When is the next round?
Another round will likely take place in late 2021. Sign up for DSB eNews and follow the Division on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
If I turned in an application in February 2020, do I have to reapply? Will you look at my 2020 application?
You must reapply. Many businesses have changed drastically during the pandemic. Considering this, even if you submitted an EDGE application last year, you must submit a new application. The Division will not review any 2020 submissions.
When will the grant be awarded?
The finalist judging event is scheduled for late Spring with winners announced soon after.
What happens if you are chosen as a finalist? Do you have to prepare another proposal or a presentation?
Finalists prepare a full presentation for their business and proposal. They present their pitch to a panel of experts (think Shark Tank). The panel ultimately selects recipients.
What businesses have won EDGE Grants in the past?
A list of winners and company descriptions is available at delbiz.com/edge.
Will I receive word if our application is not chosen as a finalist?
Yes, you will be notified via email after the applications have been reviewed.
If my application is not successful, will I be able to find out why?
After you receive notification, you have been declined, you can/should contact your regional business manager to go through the application and discuss areas for potential improvement for a future round.
How many Grants will be issued?
At most 10 Entrepreneur Class grants and five STEM Class grants will be awarded this round.
What is the difference between the Entrepreneur and STEM Classes?
STEM is science, technology, engineering and math. Entrepreneur is everything else. You get to decide which fits your company best. Note that most STEM companies are research-based.
Does a business consulting business fall under STEM or entrepreneur?
It depends, but unless the business works specifically with STEM companies, the answer is most likely Entrepreneur Class.
Does county come into play with eligibility, finalist selection or winner selection?
No, other geographic considerations can offer bonus points to a proposal, but county is not one of them.
How do I find out who my reginal business manager is and contact them?
Go to delbiz.com/contact. Business managers with their locations are listed in a dropdown in the contact form.
Does it matter when my business started?
To qualify for EDGE Round 3, your business must have been less than five years old in February 2020 (if you started your business since then, it is eligible). Older businesses are not eligible.
Are there any opportunities for businesses older than five years?
Older businesses are not eligible for EDGE. But DSB has a monthly report on local, regional and national grants that they may qualify for.
I saw an email that said applying business had to be operating prior to March 2020. Is that accurate?
That timing was for DE Relief Grants, not EDGE Grants.
Do start-up businesses qualify for a grant? What about those in the process of building out or licensing?
Yes, start-ups and early-stage businesses can apply.
I created a new business as an off shoot of a longstanding company less than five years ago. Is the new business eligible?
Yes, if it is an off-shoot of a company, and the off-shoot has not been in business five years, it is eligible.
If less than five years ago I bought a business, which has existed for more than five years, am I eligible?
Yes, the business is eligible if it meets the other eligibility criteria.
I just started new offerings for my business, but I did not form a new business to do so. Is my business eligible?
A new business is eligible not an added aspect of an existing business.
What if COVID killed my business and now you are starting over after a year out of operation. Is this business eligible?
The business would be eligible if in total it is still younger than five years old.
Are EDGE Grants only for Delaware businesses?
An out-of-state business applying must move into Delaware prior to receiving funds.
I live in Delaware, but my business is in MD/PA/NJ, is it eligible?
No, the business itself must be majority located in Delaware.
I am moving my business from MD/PA/NJ to Delaware. Is it eligible?
Yes, that business would be eligible if it meets the other requirements. Funds would not be dispersed until the business is majority located in Delaware.
Can my physical location be my home?
Yes, it is acceptable for your business to operate out of your home.
Are sole proprietors, LLCs, S Corps, etc. eligible?
Business structure does not impact eligibility. If your business meets the other criteria, structure is irrelevant. You do not need to be incorporated before applying. You do need a valid business license.
Do contractors count toward the employee count limit?
No, contractors are not employees.
Is my business eligible if I do not have any employees?
Yes, non-employer businesses are eligible.
Does temporary staff count for the employee limit?
No, temp staff does not count toward 10 employees.
How small or how new is too small or too new for this program?
No business is too new or too small to be eligible to apply.
Does this business need to be my full-time occupation?
No, it can be a side hustle.
Can I apply for an EDGE Grant if I already received a grant?
If you received a DE Relief Grant or HELP Loan for your business during the pandemic, you are still eligible. If you have previously won an EDGE Grant, you are not eligible.
Do I need a Delaware business license to apply? How do I get one and can it be submitted after I put in my application?
Yes, you must have a valid business license. If you need a license, contact the Division of Revenue. A business license can be obtained same day. A valid license must be part of your application.
I have not done my 2020 taxes yet. Am I eligible to apply for a grant?
Yes, but you should do your taxes.
Have you ever funded a (insert industry) company? Or is an (insert industry) business eligible?
In general, eligibility is not based on industry except for any excluded from support using Delaware Strategic Fund money (e.g., real estate speculation).
Are any nonprofits eligible for the grant program?
Social entrepreneurship businesses with nonprofit status may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.
Where can we get a copy of the application?
Visit the EDGE Grant main page to download the PDF.
Is the application paperwork itself part of the maximum of 20 pages?
No, application paperwork does not count. However, a cover page, table of contents, etc. count.
Is there a minimum number of pages required?
There is not a minimum number of pages, but most applications hit 20 quickly and often must cut back.
How do financials fit into the overall application?
The income statement and balance sheet are part of the 20-page proposal and should be included as such.
Have there been any changes to the rubric for this round?
No changes were made between Round 2 and Round 3.
The application asks for Manager’s tax ID. Do I need put my SSN?
What does the section “Private, Public (ticker symbol)…” mean on the application?
If you are eligible for this grant, you almost certainly are private.
For the project budget, are estimates acceptable? Or should I provide actual quotes?
Actual quotes are best whenever possible. But they are not mandatory.
Are graphics/photos helpful to include in the application?
Yes, but be thoughtful about staying under 20 pages.
Where can I find data for determining my market size?
If I purchased a business, do I need the previous financial statements with the previous ownership/business?
There is no need to provide financials from the previous owner.
Using the Grant
If I win a grant, how long do I have to use the funds?
You have one year to spend the money.
Is the grant a lump sum or in increments? Upfront or reimbursable?
The grant is an upfront lump sum. You are required to turn in receipts to prove the money was spent as proposed.
What qualifies as a match? Am I required to be able to match to apply?
Cash, equipment or any non-state/local-government grants may be included as part of the match provided they are sufficiently tied to the project for which the company is seeking EDGE funding. You must be able to match grant funds $1 to $3 to qualify for the grant program.
Must the business’s matching funds fit the eligible expenses, or can they be spent toward different parts of the same project?
If you can show how the money is going to the business, it does not have to go directly to the same place as the grant award would be.
If I have already put investment into a proposed project, can that count towards the match?
Money previously put into project can count for match, you just have to show where the money went.
Can the match come from investors?
If the money comes through the business (whether from investors or personal), it is acceptable for the match.
Is collateral from business is needed to receive funds?
No, collateral is not needed. But you must show how you are matching.
The Delaware Division of Small Business, part of the Delaware Department of State, is a service-focused agency committed to supporting businesses starting and growing in Delaware. Small businesses can reach out to the Division for assistance in connecting to the resources and advice to succeed. The Division is a champion for Delaware small businesses and is here to help take companies to the next level.