State launches new $25M grant program to help small businesses

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Updated: Oct. 20, 2020 at 9:22 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is launching a new $25 million grant program aimed at helping businesses “pivot” amid the pandemic to attract new customers or woo back existing ones.

The Hawaii Business Pivot Grant program will fund 2,500 businesses and nonprofits (with fewer than 100 employees) with grants of up to $10,000.

The program is funded with federal CARES Act funds.

The grants will cover a host of reimbursable expenses, from web design services to special equipment needed to ensure social distancing measures to e-commerce costs.

In response to the pandemic, Gayla Young, owner and founder of Pipeline Bakery and Creamery in Kaimuki moved their entire menu online.

“I had a great partnership that allows us to ship nationwide so we have kind of taken that to another level and we shipped all of our malasadas, we ship cake bombs and cookies to the entire U.S.,” said Young.

President of Save Pali Lanes, Christian Arakawa says the assistance gives their bowling alley hope as they are on the verge of closing their doors for good.

“We have money that still needs to be paid off, like I said the $10,000 will help in some of the bills that need to be paid off, of course," said Arakawa. "But you know it’s a scary time because all it takes is for another spike for us to either stuck tier one or just closed up again.”

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“This grant helps take some of the pressure off businesses,” said Gov. David Ige, at a news conference. “My hope is that they will make the most of this challenging situation.”

Scores of Hawaii businesses have closed amid the pandemic and countless more are struggling to remain afloat.

The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii will handle the applications process for the grant program, and said businesses can expect processing to take seven to 10 days.

This story will be updated.

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