Together we will bounce back.


In order to support small businesses citywide during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have developed The Wilmington Strong Small Business Fund. Through a public-private partnership, local economic development organizations quickly came together to ensure Wilmington businesses will remain open for years to come. The Wilmington Strong Small Business Fund offers $1,000 grants to small businesses located in the City of Wilmington in order to cover specific expenses such as rent payments, mortgage payments, utility & supplier bills, and digital marketing costs. The fund not only builds the capacity of small businesses to recover from the impact of COVID-19, but also builds out a community-driven network to serve our favorite shops, restaurants, stores, and cafes citywide. We have listened to the needs of small business owners, and are taking immediate action to ensure Wilmington businesses will remain open for business. The Wilmington Strong Fund is led by a partnership between West Side Grows Together and the Wilmington Alliance, with leadership from the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, True Access Capital, Cinnaire, the Delaware Division of Small Business, Central Baptist Community Development Corporation, Latin American Community Center, WIN Factory, Wilmington Community Advisory Council and Collaborate Northeast. This fund first began as an initiative on the West Side with the support of Capital One and has now expanded to serve small businesses throughout the City of Wilmington. What started as a goal of $10,000 has now expanded to a $200,000 matching commitments from Barclays US Consumer Bank and Comenity Bank. Additional funding has been provided by the City of Wilmington - Office of Economic Development, Wilmington City Council, Wilmington Alliance, Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, and individual donors.


Anchor Supporters:


Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth management. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for 48 million customers and clients worldwide.


Comenity Bank is one of the private-label and co-branded credit card banking subsidiaries of Alliance Data’s card services business. Comenity Bank was formed as World Financial Network National Bank in 1989 to provide private label credit card services to the various retail establishments owned by Limited Brands and its subsidiaries, and their customers. Comenity Bank underwrites credit programs on behalf of many of America’s best-known brands. For more information about Comenity, visit Comenity.net. 


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West Side Grows Together is a coalition of residents, businesses, churches, and local leadership working together to transform & strengthen the West Side community in Wilmington, DE. In June of 2011, more than 650 residents and over 100 other stakeholders worked together to develop the ten year community strategy known as the West Side Revitalization Plan. WSGT is led by our Steering Committee, representing a broad range of community stakeholders including West Side residents, civic associations, neighborhood planning councils, institutions, and businesses. The committee is responsible for prioritizing projects, tracking implementation of the revitalization plan, and coordinating our partners.

Wilmington Alliance was formed in July of 2019 out of the merger of Wilmington Renaissance Corporation (WRC) and Wilmington Leaders Alliance (WLA), to advance the city of Wilmington through intentional strategic collaborations with a culture that is inclusive and innovative. The Alliance focuses on targeted projects for greater impact and brings coordinating support to see these efforts through to completion. Our three areas of focus are: creative placemaking, community-based violence intervention and economic development & inclusion which includes workforce development, entrepreneurship and support of local small businesses.

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development is committed to ensuring a diversified local economy for the City by promoting and developing all varieties of industry and by initiating programs to increase job opportunities for residents of the City of Wilmington. They facilitate the development of retail, commercial, cultural, entertainment, and educational attractions as a means to attract new businesses and residents to the City. They also assist small, minority, and women owned businesses through training and technical assistance programs designed to facilitate greater access to the public/private marketplace.


True Access Capital is a not-for-profit, federally certified, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that supports small businesses and community development projects. The mission of True Access Capital is to educate, empower, and elevate business owners, and entrepreneurs, by augmenting technical expertise, increasing access to capital and stimulating business growth throughout Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania.

 Through our lending and investing programs and range of services, Cinnaire improves lives, creates jobs and contributes to vibrant, strong communities. They help community development organizations, lending partners and socially motivated investors accomplish goals in underserved communities. They aim to  fill gaps in community development funding by leveraging capital from public and private sector organizations and bringing expertise to communities that need it most.

The Division of Small Business is a service-focused agency committed to helping businesses start and grow in Delaware. They aim to support the small business community in Delaware by navigating government processes, connecting with resource organizations, and accessing capital.

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The WIN Factory is the premier educational, networking and wealth building resources for new and existing wealth builders. We are a group of like-minded new and experienced wealth builders committed to learning and creating wealth through entrepreneurship, real estate and investing. We train ourselves from within AND learn from outside resources through a growing network of industry professionals and newbies, networking events, virtual learning materials and much more.

The mission of Collaborate Northeast is to coordinate and facilitate place-based redevelopment in Northeast Wilmington in a sustainable, creative and community-driven manner to ensure that economic and environmental resiliency is incorporated into every aspect of revitalization so that every resident can enjoy the highest quality of life.

Central Baptist Community Development Corporation’s Eastside Rising Career Development Center comprehensively addresses barriers of the hardest to serve populations while taking them through a rigorous workforce training program designed to increase the social and human capital of the communities we serve.

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LACC aims to  empower the Latino Community through education, advocacy, partnerships and exceptional services in order to achieve a thriving Latino community. Our core values are built on the premise that they are fully applicable to the manner in which we engage with our clients, our fellow employees, and all our stakeholders as we work to create the greatest good possible.

The Wilmington Community Advisory Council, a diverse group of state and local stakeholders, was created in 2016 to address youth gun violence based on the 2015 CDC Report. The Council serves as a convener, broker and advocate for addressing the root causes of gun violence, e.g. toxic stress and trauma, behavioral health, unemployment, and neighborhood safety. It does this by bringing together community organizations and coalitions and connecting them to needed expertise and resources.



In Wilmington, several businesses have taken advantage of the city’s recent renaissance; however, those that have been open less than a year do not qualify for funding assistance. Small businesses are making hard financial decisions that may not be the best option for them, and there is a lack of grant funding that is available to quickly address their immediate needs. 

Small businesses drive our national economy. According to a 2018 U.S. Small Business Administration report, 30.2 million small businesses employed 58.9 million individuals, or 47.5% of the working population. An April 2020 report by the National Bureau of Economic Research indicates the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses nationally has resulted in 43% of businesses being forced to temporarily close and, on average, staff reductions of 40%. Not to mention many small businesses were previously operating from a “financially fragile” state having “more than $10,000 in monthly expenses and less than one month of cash on hand.” 

The City of Wilmington has an estimated 1,500 small businesses. In a local survey conducted by West Side Grows Together, a coalition of Wilmington's West Side residents, businesses, churches and community groups, business owners reported on average a 60% decrease in sales revenue since the stay-at-home orders took place. One small business owner expressed concern that their unique shop is “last in line” for consumer dollars as the shop does not offer food or medical service and people are less likely to spend money on anything that is not deemed essential. Like many small business owners adhering to mandatory closures, they are doing what they can to maintain some small revenue, such as offering gift cards or online retailing. 


In order to be eligible to receive a grant from the Wilmington Strong Fund, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Your business is located within the administrative boundaries of the City of Wilmington. Please see the map > to determine if your location is eligible.

  • No Air BnBs, corporate or franchised businesses, insurance companies, property management companies, nonprofits or check cashing businesses are permitted to apply.

  • One Business Owner can not apply for funding for more than 2 separate business locations.

  • Must complete an application including providing your current business license and documentation regarding your proposed bill payment. W9 forms are due after notification of award. If you are unable to provide a W9, please email glantieri@westsidegrows.org

  • Cannot make more than 1 million in annual revenue.

All applicants will be evaluated by our Review Team, following a rubric point system. View > 

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True Access Capital offers free assistance to small businesses with their loan application package, business planning process, and follow-up services. This assistance helps prepare potential borrowers for the application/underwriting process and it helps existing borrowers remain sustainable, once the loan has been made. To learn more about True Access Capital’s Technical Assistance services, email ctymes@firststateloan.org or complete a request for counseling:

The focus of the Delaware Small Business Development Center (DSBDC), is to develop and support entrepreneurship throughout the State of Delaware by free one-on-one counseling to understand their needs and assist them in a path forward. They offer free assistance to small businesses with business planning, financial services, marketing, and technology. To request a free session with a consultant from their Newark location,

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If you have specific questions about your application, or issues uploading documents, please email Gabrielle Lantieri at glantieri@westsidegrows.org. Se habla Español. 


We have completed Phase 3 which included multiple rounds of grants and are preparing for Phase 4!

Feel free to submit an application and check back regularly for updates on when Phase 4 will begin!

As part of the application process, you will need to supply a copy of your business license and a copy of a bill that would be paid with is your funding is granted. Please be prepared to have documents ready for upload during application.






Together we will bounce back.




Find out more—Frequently Asked Questions: 

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.

No merchant or tradesman would set himself to work if he did not hope to reap benefit thereby.”

Martin Luther

Contact the Wilmington Strong Fund with comments or questions:

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