Sen. Tony Hwang Explains Details of New Connecticut CARES Small Business Grant Program

November 11, 2020


DECD to Make Small Businesses Applications Available this week.


HARTFORD – Today State Senator Tony Hwang met via Zoom with Department of Economic and Community Development’s (DECD) Commissioner David Lehman to discuss the soon-to-open online application process for the Connecticut CARES Small Business Grant Program.

The program is designed to help small businesses and nonprofits that have faced financial hardship caused by COVID-19. Eligible small businesses and nonprofits can receive a one-time $5,000 grant that will be disbursed no later than December 30, 2020.


To be eligible, a business must have either 20 or fewer full-time employees or an annual payroll of less than $1.5 million as of December 31, 2019. In addition, to be eligible a business must show that they were negatively impacted by the pandemic by demonstrating a 20% or more loss in revenue year to date as of September 30th, 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

According to DECD, there will be preference given to businesses who EMPLOY OTHER PEOPLE (v. sole proprietors) and the first $25 million of the $50 million program will be given to applicants from Connecticut’s “distressed municipalities.” (In 2020, these 25 cities/towns received the highest ranking based on a specific fiscal metrics including tax base, personal income of residents and the residents’ need for public services.)

“While I am grateful that the state is providing an opportunity for Connecticut small businesses to receive support, I am concerned that this program will reach its maximum capacity very quickly and many businesses in need will be left out unless additional CARES funding are readily available,” said Sen. Hwang. “While we are still waiting for the online application to be launched, I wanted to inform as many business owners and nonprofits as possible.”

“It is important to remind potential applicants that this is a grant, not a loan. There will not be any responsibility to pay back the $5,000. Also, this program was designed to work in concert with the existing and hopeful future state and federal aid programs. I encourage any eligible business or nonprofit to apply right away to ensure they can be in consideration for one of the limited number of grants,” said Sen. Hwang.

Sen. Hwang will discuss this program and other possible future government aid for the business community THIS FRIDAY, November 13 at 12:00pm on Facebook Live. Senator Hwang hopes to have representatives from DECD and the Small Business Administration on the call as well. You can join the conversation at


The following information has been made available by DECD:

Which small businesses/nonprofits ARE eligible?

  • Those with 20 or less full-time employees OR annual payroll of less than $1.5 million as of 12/31/19
  • Those with 20% or more loss in revenue year to date as of September 30, 2020 compared with the same period in 2019
  • Those who were established by October 1, 2019 and still are active
  • Those who have passed a DRS tax status review.  To avoid potential delays in processing your application check your DRS status at:
  • Home-based businesses and Sole Proprietors
  • Those who already received federal PPP, EIDL and/or CT Bridge loans are still eligible


Which small businesses/nonprofits are NOT eligible?

  • Medical marijuana; liquor stores and alcohol distributors; adult businesses such as strip clubs; vape retailers; tobacco shops and smoking lounges; businesses having to do with gambling; gun stores and ranges; cash advance, check cashing, or pawn shops; bail bonds; collection agencies or services; and auction or bankruptcy or fire or “lost-our-lease” or “going-out-of-business” or similar sale.
  • Arts/cultural organizations that have already applied for CARES grants


How do you Apply?