By Regina Mitchell, Director, Delaware Division of Small Business

Access to capital is one of the most important things, and biggest challenges, for a small business. The Delaware Division of Small Business (DSB) helps entrepreneurs, whether seasoned or in the startup phase, with this issue through several programs we oversee. We’re sharing information on some of these programs and encourage you to visit to learn more. 

• EDGE – Encouraging Development, Growth, and Expansion is the division’s flagship program to help early-stage businesses start and grow. EDGE is a competition for grant funding held twice a year. Each round awards up to $50,000 each to a total of five businesses in the Entrepreneur Category, and $100,000 each to five businesses in the STEM category. 

• The Delaware Strategic Fund is the division’s primary funding source to support business recruitment, retention and expansion through grants and low-interest loans to projects that significantly grow the state’s economy. Job creation or retention is a key component. Eligible projects include a new or expanding manufacturing facility, corporate headquarters or research facility. Proposals must be presented to and approved by the Council on Development Finance (CDF) in one of its public meetings. 

• Now in it’s third year, the Site Readiness Fund provides municipalities and developers a way to attract potential businesses by having ready-to-go commercial or industrial sites. There are two phases that businesses can apply for: pre-site work (studies) and site prep-work. Proposals must be presented to and approved by CDF. 

• Workforce Development Grants provide businesses additional funding to support workforce training when staff need to upgrade their skill level. Training programs should be related to new and innovative processes or programs, machinery or technology- related upgrades and provided to full-time, permanent employees. 

• Graduated Lab Space Funding – The Delaware Graduated Lab Space Incentive Program is designed to support existing companies and attract new companies requiring lab space. The program is aimed at addressing the shortage of lab space in the state and creating more ‘ready-to-go’ lab space for companies growing out of their existing space. 

• The Delaware Technical Innovation Program (DTIP) offers transition grants for companies that have completed Phase I and applied for Phase II of the federal Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer programs as they work to bring new products to market. 

• A new pilot program is the Modernization Investment Support Initiative (MISI). The goal is to provide grant funds to qualified businesses that face regional, national or global competitive forces that could negatively affect employment unless investments are made that can update or ‘modernize’ the Delaware location. 

• Also new in 2023, DSB was awarded $60M in federal funding through the State Small Business Credit Initiative Program (SSBCI). The goal of SSBCI-funded initiatives is to support both small and early-stage businesses, particularly those underserved by traditional capital markets. 

Identifying funding opportunities is just one of the free services we offer through our four regional business managers – one in each county and one in the city of Wilmington. 

Visit, to learn more about them and the other free services available to small business owners.