Hawaii is launching a $25 million program to help ease the burden on companies that have shifted business models due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. David Ige announced on Tuesday that the Hawaii Business Pivot Grant Program, set to launch on Thursday, will provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses and nonprofit organizations that have been forced to pivot their business models due to COVID-19. These pivots include shifting online capabilities, hiring consulting and professional services, purchase of new equipment and supplies and physical distancing measure expenses incurred after Oct. 1.
“The objective of the program is to assist small and mid-sized businesses with financial and training resources to help them adjust to the new economic environment brought on by the pandemic,” said Ige of the partnership between the state and Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. “These businesses collectively employ tens of thousands of residents and are crucial to our economic revitalization.”
Businesses eligible for the program must have fewer than 100 employees, be owned by a Hawaii resident and operate in a physical commercial space in Hawaii, and have suffered economic damage due to the pandemic. All eligible businesses must also have been in business prior to March 20.
The program is three-tiered, according to Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. The three components include the grant program, technical assistance including webinars, workshops and training, and assistance with an online marketplace.
“When COVID hit us in March, many businesses had no playbook,” said Menor-McNamara. “COVID-19 caused many businesses to change how they operate and pivot their business to survive. … We hope this grant will ease the burden on companies who are making the shift while inspiring others to rethink and reimagine that they can add to the resilience of the business.”
The program’s application window opens at 7 a.m. Thursday and will remain open until Nov. 23, or as long as funds are available. Ige noted that applications would likely take between seven and 10 days to be processed. Prospective businesses and nonprofits are encouraged visit www.hawaiibizpivot.org to learn more about the program and apply.
“Companies that are able to successfully pivot will not only survive, but thrive,” said Ige. “This grant helps take some of the pressure off businesses and helps them figure out how to pivot in this new environment.”