Program Guidelines & Application
For Fiscal Year 2023
Round 1: Open October 1 - 31, 2022
Round 2: Open January 1 - 31, 2023
Round 3: Open April 1 - May 1, 2023
The Smart Start Business Development Grant Program is designed to provide financial support for new and recently established startups and small businesses to assist with expanding entrepreneurial opportunity, business resiliency, and organizational capacity building.
New and recently established for-profit small businesses and non-profit organizations with operations based in the City of Portsmouth
- Available to businesses that have been in operation for 0-3 years (as evidenced by a City of Portsmouth business license)
- Available to businesses with 10 full-time equivalent (FTE) or fewer positions
- Available to businesses that are current with City of Portsmouth taxes and fees
- Entities of local, state, or federal government, religious organizations, and residential-use businesses are prohibited from applying
- Recipients of the Smart Start Business Development Grant may only receive funding one time under the program
The Smart Start Business Development Grant application is a four-step process. All applicants must first complete the Santa Clara University's My Own Business Institute's Quick Start Entrepreneur online course, or provide documentation of completion of an approved equivalent certification course.
Upon completion of the required coursework, the completed Smart Start Business Development Grant application is to be submitted to Portsmouth Economic Development for review and is not considered submitted if incomplete. Completed applications (those containing all required documentation) will be reviewed to determine completion status and adherence with program guidelines.
Approval or denial of an application lies within the discretion of the Portsmouth Economic Development Authority's (EDA) Board of Commissioners, considering factors such as the degree to which the business activities contemplated by the application further the goals of the program, the degree of the need for the funding, the level of funding requested, the amount of program funds remaining for the fiscal year, and any other factors the Board of Commissioners may deem relevant.
When an application is approved, the applicant will enter into a Grant Agreement with the Portsmouth EDA, agreeing to accept the approved grant funds. If the grantee needs to make any changes to the use of grant funds as proposed in the application, the grantee must notify Portsmouth Economic Development in writing in advance of the changes.
The Smart Start Business Development Grant is funded entirely by the Portsmouth Economic Development Authority (EDA). Eligible activities are only those within these Guidelines and must directly and primarily benefit the business for which the Grant award is received. The maximum grant amount available for any approved application is $2,000.
Recipients of the Smart Start Business Development Grant may only receive funding one time under the program.
Funding is available until the funding pool has been exhausted each fiscal year as appropriated. All recipients are required to enter into a Grant Agreement with the Portsmouth EDA. Recipients have 30 days to begin eligible business activities and 90 days to complete them. Extensions for an additional 90 days may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
- Professional and third-party services to assist in expanding a business including legal, financial, accounting, marketing, social media, e-commerce, etc.
- Small scale production/manufacturing equipment, machinery, tools, etc.
- Technology and digital infrastructure (hardware, software, digital platforms, etc.)
- Business furniture and fixtures
- Wages, benefits, payroll expenses
- Rent, debt service
- Operating costs (utilities, insurance, etc.)
- Real estate improvements
- Supplies and inventory
- Residential-use furniture
- Decorative items (wall art, decor, etc.)