To provide emergency assistance to local businesses in Rochester adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rochester Innovation Grant Program (RIGP) will provide grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses innovating their business model, approach, or services in response to the pandemic. Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) will oversee the new program for the City of Rochester to fund innovative projects undertaken since July 1, 2021. Applications will be accepted beginning September 3rd.

“RAEDI is honored to be partnering with the City of Rochester again to help get these funds to local small businesses that are determined to thrive during and after the pandemic,” said John Wade, president of RAEDI in a press release.

A total of up to $209,000 is available for grant awards, with a priority given to historically under-served businesses (women-, military veteran-, and ethnic or racial minority-owned businesses). Any for-profit business started before July 1, 2021, is welcome to apply. Home-based businesses are eligible for this program as well.

“In administering the COVID-19 Emergency Economic Development Fund Loan Program last year for the City of Rochester, we saw firsthand the determination of local businesses to succeed in spite of the circumstances and are eager to help local businesses take their next steps with this new program,” said Sean Williams, Director of Entrepreneurial Services for RAEDI.

Applications for the RGIP open on Friday, Sept. 3, at noon, and will be accepted through Sunday, Sept. 19. Full guidelines for the program are available now at