WATCH: State Senator Tony Hwang moderates Informational Forum on CT CARES Small Business Grant Program

November 16, 2020



On Friday November 13, 2020, State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) moderated an informational town hall on the newly-announced CT CARES Small Business Grant Program being administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). 


“While it would have been impossible for the state to provide business assistance that would be considered ‘perfect,’ this grant program is a worthwhile “bridge” effort to lend a hand and dovetail to both the existing and potential future aid programs,” said Sen. Hwang.


The discussion shared insights on the streamlined application process and eligibility criteria for small businesses and nonprofits as well as some trouble shooting for businesses and nonprofits who still need to apply.  Senator Hwang was joined by representatives from state and business organizations, including:

Glendowlyn Thames, Deputy Commissioner CT Department of Economic and Community Development

Andy Markowski, Connecticut State Director, National Federation of Independent Businesses

– Beverly Balaz, Executive Director of Fairfield Chamber of Commerce

– Matthew Mandell, Executive Director, Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce

State Legislators representing Fairfield and Westport: Representatives Cristin McCarthy-Vahey, Laura Devlin, Brian Farnen and Jonathan Steinberg.

The Chambers of Commerce and legislators alike gave due credit to Connecticut’s DECD for the amount of customer support they are providing to applicants. DECD will be continuing their series of “office hours” though this weekend to assist small businesses and nonprofits. Deputy Commissioner Thames shared that the technical side of the grant program is being administered through a template, provided for free from SoFi, so there were limits to the amount of personalization or changes that the state could make.



DECD Deputy Commissioner Glendowlyn Thames also explained that the first $25 million of the $50 million program will be set aside for applicants from Connecticut’s 25 “Distressed Municipalities.” 


Senator Hwang queried about the breakdown of allocated grant funds by emphasizing that, “No matter where a business is located in Connecticut, it is under duress and possibly on the verge of closure.  I am concerned that DECD’s focus on the 25 distressed municipalities does not take into account that every business regardless of what towns they are located are all struggling.”


For more information on the grant program, please see Senator Hwang’s press release at:


This meeting will be recorded and subject to state freedom of information (FOI) guidelines.  The recording will be shared with the Office of CT Governor Ned Lamont, CT Department of Economic and Community Development, and the CT General Assembly’s Commerce Committee.


​LEGAL NOTICE:  Certain communications or records received by or sent from this electronic mail account may be subject to public disclosure pursuant to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-200 et seq.