Main Street in Patchogue.

Main Street in Patchogue. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Fifty small companies on Long Island will share $250,000 in grant funding from internet service provider Optimum Business, the Long Island Association business group announced on Thursday.

The new aid program will award $5,000 each to 25 companies in Nassau County and 25 companies in Suffolk County.

The application deadline is May 1 and grant recipients will be announced in June, officials said.

To be eligible, businesses must have 10 or fewer employees and have a physical location on Long Island.

Applicants should propose a project that will increase sales and have a positive impact on the surrounding community such as new signage, a marketing plan or website that brings in new customers and a consultant to help organize the operation.

The grant application and additional information may be found on the web pages of the LIA’s charitable arm, the LIA Foundation: longislandassociation.org/foundation/. The program's official name is Lifting Our Community Businesses Across Long Island Small Business Grants.

“We encourage all eligible businesses from all sectors to apply … and we look forward to seeing the innovative ways small businesses across Long Island will use this funding,” said LIA CEO Matt Cohen.

He also said all applicants who aren’t already LIA members will be offered a free six-month membership, and grant recipients will receive a free one-year membership.

The recipients will be determined by a selection committee consisting of small-business experts and representatives of the LIA and its partners, the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce and Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Phil Andrews, president of the African American chamber, praised the new grant program, saying it “will help brick-and-mortar small businesses by providing them with the necessary capital to fuel growth and beautify neighborhoods.”

Luis Vazquez, president of the Hispanic chamber, added, “We’re investing in Hispanic and minority-owned small businesses.”

Optimum Business, which is part of Altice USA, views small businesses as a key component of the regional economy, said Andrew Rainone, its senior vice president of business services. The grants will allow “us to continue our commitment in ensuring small businesses have the connectivity services, resources, and programs to succeed and grow in today’s digital economy,” he said.

Other utility companies that serve Long Island, notably National Grid and PSEG, also have grant programs that aid small companies.

National Grid awarded more than $900,000 last year to 16 small businesses in Nassau and Suffolk, spokeswoman Wendy Frigeria told Newsday.

There were 12 recipients of 2023 Main Street Revitalization Program grants from PSEG, totaling $387,125. Company spokesman Jeremy Walsh wasn't able to determine how many were small businesses by the press deadline.

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