A new $50 million grant program for Connecticut small businesses began accepting applications Thursday night and is expected to do so for the next week.

Companies whose applications are approved will receive a one-time grant of $5,000 by the end of this year. To apply, click here.

To be eligible for the CT CARES Small Business Grant Program, companies – whether for-profit or not-for-profit – must have fewer than 20 employees or a 2019 payroll of under $1.5 million. Some other eligibility criteria apply, and can be seen on the program’s website.

The state announced the program, which is paid for by federal stimulus funds, last month.

The application window for the had been slated to open sometime this week. Notice came from Gov. Ned Lamont, who announced during his 4 p.m. COVID-19 briefing on Thursday that the program would open at 8 p.m

Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner David Lehman said in an email to local officials Thursday evening that demand is expected to be high.

“The grant application will only be available for a limited time,” Lehman wrote. “We anticipate closing the application by 5 p.m., Thursday, November 19, 2020 but this is highly dependent on demand. I encourage you to apply as soon as possible.”

It’s the second small business relief fund that Connecticut has launched since the pandemic began. The first, called the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan program, launched in late March and ultimately distributed $41.8 million in zero-interest loans to 2,122 companies.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the application window was expected to only last about one day. It is expected to last about one week. 

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