Gov. David Ige today unveiled a new $25 million program designed to help small- and mid-size businesses and nonprofits adapt to the realities of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hawaii Business Pivot Grant program will offer grants of up to $10,000 to reimburse or to cover future costs incurred while businesses have changed business models in response to the new economy.
“In recent months businesses have had to show creativity and grit just to survive,” Ige said at a Capitol press conference. “In other words, they’ve had to pivot from one way of working to something radically different.”
Changes that have been made include investing in e-commerce, reconfiguring spaces, adding hygiene measures and changing the way customer sales are accomplished.
“This grant helps take some of the pressure off businesses so they can figure out how best to pivot in this new environment,” the governor said.
The program, to be funded by federal CARES Act relief funds, is being offered in partnership with Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, which will administer the grants.
“When COVID hit us in March, many businesses had no playbook,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the chamber. “This was obviously an unprecedented situation and so, as you can see, COVID-19 caused many businesses to change the way they operate.”
“We hope this grant will ease the burden on companies who are making the shift, while inspiring others to rethink and re-imagine that they can add to the resilience of their business,” she said.
In addition to the grants, the program will offer technical assistance, including workshops, training and consultant services, plus an online marketplace for businesses to access products and services to assist them in transforming their operations.
Companies and nonprofits must have fewer than 100 employees and suffered economic injury from the pandemic.
More information is available at the program’s new web site: hawaiibizpivot.org