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Please note that the RETOOL NC grant program has ended. We are pleased to have delivered more than $10 million in capital to 571 businesses across North Carolina. To learn more about the RETOOL NC program's impact, please read our 2022 Annual Report.



The small business ecosystem needs help to continue surviving through the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with North Carolina's state government and the Institute, we're proud to provide grant aid to historically underutilized small businesses throughout North Carolina.


North Carolina’s Department of Administration Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) has partnered with Carolina Small Business Development Fund and the Institute of Economic Development to administer the RETOOLNC Grant Program Fund. The fund provides cash aid to for-profit small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RETOOLNC Grant Program is now closed. 

Funds Available to Help HUBs and DBEs Impacted by COVID

The North Carolina Small Business Impact Grant Program, RETOOLNC, was launched in Fall 2020 to help state-certified minority and women-owned businesses disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Grants of up to $25,000 are awarded to select certified small underutilized businesses to help them with pivotal industry business changes needed during the pandemic. Governor Cooper established the RETOOLNC program to help certified HUBs and DBEs recover from some of these costly, unexpected adjustments to their business.

If you have questions about the program or application, call (888) 704-8040 or contact 


PLEASE READ BEFORE CONTINUING: Per program guidelines, as mandated by the state, businesses whose legal names begin with the letters "A" through "K" are required to apply with The Institute, and businesses whose names begin with special characters or the letters "L" through "Z" are required to apply with CSBDF. Applicants must be HUB or DBE certified to be eligible for this program.

The RETOOL NC program has ended. 



To qualify, the business entity must meet all of the below criterion:

  • Location of Operations: Business must be an independent business located in North Carolina. 

  • Time in Operations: The small business entity must have been operating on or before February 2019.

  • Certified as Underutilized: At the time of application, the entity must be certified as underutilized by NCHUB or NCDOT DBE.

  • Maximum Revenue Threshold: Annual revenues for 2020 must be less than $1.5M, as determined by 2020 tax filings.

  • Maximum Employee Threshold: The small business has less than 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees at the time of application.

  • Business Structure: The applicant is a for-profit business (this includes sole proprietorships, home-based businesses, and independent contractors) which is independently owned. If the entity is a franchise, the franchisor must be independently and locally owned. Entities classified as nonprofits, lobbying businesses, or real estate investment firms do not qualify.

  • Tax and Legal Standing: The small business entity may not have any active bankruptcies, tax liens, or be delinquent on North Carolina state taxes.

  • Impact Narrative: For first-time applicants, the entity’s representative must provide a detailed statement of how operations have been negatively impacted due to COVID-19. For previously awarded applicants, the entity's representative must provide a statement about how the previous funding was used and how the new funding would be used. 

  • Per program guidelines, as mandated by the state, businesses whose legal names begin with the letters "A" through "K" are required to apply with The Institute, while businesses that begin with special characters or the letters "L" through "Z" are required to apply with Carolina Small Business Development Fund.  


If awarded, the base amount is $10,000. The business may be awarded higher amounts (at a maximum of $25,000). This will apply if the average amount of its operating expenses over 4 months, as based on the 2020 business tax returns, exceeds $10,000. So an awardee may receive a base of $10k and up to $25k, whichever is less.



Funds may be used for most legitimate business expenses. This includes, but is not limited to, using funds for: working capital, lease payments, existing real estate debt payments, equipment financing payments, and covering payroll shortage.

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