Hawaiʻi Business Pivot Grant Program Awards $16.7 Million to Local Firms for Changes due to COVID-19
The Hawaiʻi Business Pivot Grant program, a partnership between the State and the Chamber of Commerce Hawaiʻi, has awarded $16.7 million to non-profit groups and small businesses for eligible operational changes or “pivots” made due to COVID-19.
The application deadline has passed. The program received more than 3,372 applications, with 2,366 qualifying applicants, including 211 for Maui County. The grants averaged $7,068.
The program is funded by the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, with appropriations through the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT).
It provided reimbursements of up to $10,000 for eligible expenses incurred since March 20, 2020. These expenses included investing in e-commerce, reconfiguring workspaces, adding safety equipment and implementing new business processes.
“These grants were distributed directly to companies and organizations employing tens of thousands of people across the state, and the funding provided much-needed goods and services to our residents during this most challenging year,” Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige said.
“The hard work, creativity and innovation that we’ve seen over the last nine months has been inspiring,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, president & CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaiʻi. “We received heartwarming notes of appreciation from grant recipients who pivoted quickly during the pandemic so that they could keep their doors open.”
Brothers Isaiah and Aaron Dosono, who own and operate Kauaʻi Kim Chee in Lihue, said: “This grant will be a tremendous help and couldn’t have come soon enough. We had to ramp up our social media presence and start shipping our products to supermarkets when the pandemic hit. We really want to thank the Pivot Grant team as well as Times, Foodland and Safeway for supporting for our small local business and allowing us in their Oahu stores.”
The Hawaii Business Pivot Grant reached small business and nonprofits in every county across the state, with these results:
- Maui County: 211 awards
- County of Kaua’i: 172 awards
- City & County of Honolulu: 1,606 awards
- Hawaiʻi County: 335 awards
“It was important to put CARES Act funds into the hands of the small businesses and nonprofits that need it most,” said Dennis Ling, administrator of the Business Development and Strategic Division at DBEDT. “Economic recovery in 2021 will rely on these small local firms and organizations that form the backbone of our communities across the state.”
While the grant program is now closed, the online marketplace on the Hawaiʻi Business Pivot Grant website will remain open to connect businesses with local vendors. More information can be found at https://www.hawaiibizpivot.org/.