Beginning in May 2021, $3,800,000 will be made available for the Empower Digital Grant. This grant program provides funding for the needs of Massachusetts-based small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals seeking tools and services to develop their digital capabilities in partnership with a Small Business Technical Assistance (SBTA) provider for up to $5,000.
SBTA providers are the door to this grant program for applicants. SBTA providers will sponsor small businesses to apply and support the effort of the small business applicants through technical assistance in the application process. The small business applicants, with the help of their SBTA sponsor, will work with a Qualified Professional in the area of their greatest digital need(s) to pursue a digital development plan.
Additional consideration will be given to businesses owned by women, minorities, immigrants, non-native English speakers, U.S. Military Veterans, disabled individuals, LGBTQ+, low-to-moderate income owners, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and businesses operating in Gateway Cities.
These funds were appropriated through the Commonwealth’s Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) and will be administered by MGCC. These funds will be made available for eligible businesses until funding is fully disbursed.
The Empower Digital Grant is open to participants who meet the following requirements. Eligible applicants must be a small business that:
ATTENTION MULTI-BUSINESS OWNERS: When applying, be aware MGCC reserves the right to limit grant funding for one business per owner.
Prospective applicants will be nominated and sponsored by a Small Business Technical Assistance (SBTA) provider from MGCC’s network. Prospective applicants without an SBTA Sponsor will be introduced to a [few] relevant SBTA provider[s]. If the introduction results in the SBTA provider sponsoring the applicant, the applicant can move forward with applying for the grant.
Partnership with a SBTA Provider as a sponsor will help to maximize the potential positive impact of this grant. Our SBTA Providers’ understanding of the landscape of small businesses in Massachusetts, familiarity with small businesses’ areas of greatest digital needs, and extensive network of collaborators helps to optimize this effort.
The SBTA Sponsor will support the applicant in the following ways:
Applicant needs to work with their SBTA Sponsor to access this grant program. Our list of potential SBTA Sponsors can be found on our website. The SBTA Sponsor will then help the applicant to fill out their application electronically, including any attachments, through MGCC’s online application portal, Submittable. Hard copies or electronic copies submitted in any other way, such as mailed in or emailed, will not be considered. Additionally, only complete, accurate, and legible applications will be considered.
Applicant must submit the following to MGCC for approval:
This will be a rolling application. Existing applications will be reviewed by MGCC on a monthly basis. Applicants can expect to hear back within six weeks of the completed submission of their grant application, including all necessary supplementary documents and information.
Program Overview Translation
The application remains in English.
These grants are intended to increase the digital capabilities of the applicant by providing funding for professional services, training, or digital products according to the Digital Development Plan detailed in the application. Grant funds are not intended for ongoing business expenses.
Please refer to this section for the answers to the most frequently asked questions.