LIHU‘E — The Hawai‘i Business Pivot Grant program, a partnership between the state and the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i, has completed awarding its grants to nonprofit groups and small businesses for eligible operational changes or “pivots” made due to COVID-19.
“This grant will be a tremendous help and couldn’t have come soon enough,” said brothers Isaiah and Aaron Dosono, who own and operate Kaua‘i Kim Chee in Lihu‘e. “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 our small, local business and allowing us in their O‘ahu stores.”
With the distribution of a total of $16.7 million to 2,366 qualifying applicants, the program has closed grant applications and met its deadline for disbursing funds.
“It was important to put CARES Act funds into the hands of the small businesses and nonprofits that need it most,” Administrator of the Business Development and Strategic Division at DBEDT Dennis Ling said. “Economic recovery in 2021 will rely on these small local firms and organizations that form the backbone of our communities across the state.”
The program was funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant appropriations through the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the program provided reimbursements of up to $10,000 for eligible expenses incurred since March 20, 2020.
These expenses included investing in e-commerce, re-configuring workspaces, adding safety equipment, and implementing new business processes. The Hawai‘i Business Pivot Grant program received more than 3,372 applications, and awarded grants averaging $7,068.
“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,” said Gov. David Ige.
Echoing the governor is President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i Sherry Menor-McNamara.
“The hard work, creativity, and innovation that we’ve seen over the last nine months (have) been inspiring. We received heartwarming notes of appreciation from grant recipients who pivoted quickly during the pandemic so that they could keep their doors open,” Menor-McNamara said.
The Hawai‘i Business Pivot Grant reached small business and nonprofits in every county across the state, with these results:
• County of Kaua’i: 172 awards
• City & County of Honolulu: 1,606 awards
• Maui County: 211 awards
• Hawai‘i County: 335 awards
While the grant program is now closed, the online marketplace on the Hawai‘i Business Pivot Grant website will remain open to connect businesses with local vendors. More information can be found at https://www.hawaiibizpivot.org.