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Offices Closed to Public

The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development offices are closed to the public at this time. We are still open for business and encourage you to contact us via phone or email.

AK CARES Grant Program

In response to Governor Mike Dunleavy's Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration on March 11, 2020, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED), working with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), established a grant program to provide economic relief to small Alaskan businesses impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. DCCED contracted with AIDEA to manage and implement the program, and AIDEA contracted with a program operator – Credit Union 1 – to process grant applications and disburse funds. AIDEA is currently in the process of bringing on another program operator.

To expedite the application process, small businesses should review the checklist and FAQs carefully prior to submitting the application. These materials are provided through the "FAQ and Checklist" link below. Incomplete application packages will not preserve an applicant’s priority in the processing queue, and the applicant will be asked to reapply with a complete application. The AK CARES Program is operated on an equal access/non-preferential (i.e. first-come, first-served basis).

The application period for the AK CARES Grant Program opened on June 1, 2020, and the expanded eligibility criteria (as outlined below) will go into effect on August 6, 2020. AIDEA has developed an online application portal that all applications will be submitted through, at which point Credit Union 1 will no longer accept applications through their website. The portal with the new application will be available at akcaresonline.org starting on August 6, 2020.

Once you have applied for an AK CARES grant, you may receive follow up phone calls and/or emails from the grant processor. Your prompt response to these follow up communications is necessary in order to finalize the processing of your grant application. Please be sure to check your inbox(es) and voicemail(s) daily, including the junk folders. Please also ensure you have room in your voicemail to receive messages.

For a printable version of these FAQs and the application checklist, click here.

Who Can Apply

Small businesses based, licensed, and located in Alaska with an Employer Identification Number (EIN) – including C-corps, S-corps, Partnerships, LLCs, Nonprofits (501(c)3 501(c)6, and 501(c)19 organizations) and sole proprietorships – impacted by COVID-19 that meet the following criteria:

  • Business was licensed and established when the public health disaster emergency declaration was issued by Governor Dunleavy on March 11, 2020;
  • Business has, on average, 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees; and
  • Business received a total of $5,000 or less from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

Commercial fishermen impacted by COVID-19 who held and fished a Limited Entry Permit or Interim Use Permit issued by the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commissioner (CFEC) and meet the following criteria:

  • Fishermen who held a Limited Entry Permit or Interim Use Permit in 2019 and 2020, including an embossed gear card, and participated in an open fishery that produced income in 2019.
    • Exception: Card Holders who purchased a Limited Entry Permit for the first time in 2020 must have been a crew member in 2019 that actively participated in an open fishery in Alaska to be eligible.
    • Exception: Card holders who emergency transferred their permit in 2019, and are actively fishing in 2020 are eligible.
    • Exception: The temporary permit holder who held Limited Entry Permit(s) by emergency transfer are eligible.
  • Fishermen who engage primarily in Alaskan fisheries.
  • Fishermen whose primary business is commercial fishing.
  • Fishermen with, on average, 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.
  • Fishermen that received a total of $5,000 or less from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

Who Is NOT Eligible to Apply

  • Marijuana related businesses
  • Businesses that are a secondary income source or part time endeavor
  • Out of State businesses
  • Business that received and kept more than $5,000 from the SBA’s PPP and/or EIDL programs.
  • Business with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees (on average).
  • Businesses that has filed for bankruptcy
  • Businesses who do not otherwise meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Commercial fishermen who did not actively fish in 2019.
  • Commercial fishermen that did not renew their permit and did not receive a gear card for 2020.
  • Commercial fishermen who hold a permit for a fishery that was closed in 2019 and 2020.
  • Commercial fishermen that emergency transferred their permit and did not actively fish themselves in 2019 and 2020.

Grant Amount

$5,000 to $100,000 based on eligible expenses.

Eligible Expenses

Amount of grant award based on the following COVID-19 emergency-related eligible expenses incurred by the applicant business between March 11, 2020 through the application date, and eight (8) weeks following the application date:

  • Payroll costs and expenses;
  • Payment of eligible expenses incurred during the eligible timeframe and charged to a credit card or charge account (a copy of the credit card or charge account statement is required for verification, and eligible expenses should be highlighted on the document);
  • Rent or mortgage payments for business facilities (unless otherwise waived by lessor/lender);
  • Utilities payments;
  • Purchase of personal protective equipment required by the business;
  • Business related equipment; and
  • Expenses incurred to replenish inventory or other necessary re-opening expenses.

Businesses interested in applying for an AK CARES grant should review the provided checklist and gather the necessary information to support the business' eligible expenses.

Businesses should also ensure all relevant licenses are active and in good standing:

Technical Assistance

Online application assistance:

Phone: (907) 771-3019
Email: grants@akcaresonline.org

Alaska Regional Development Organizations (ARDORS)

ARDORS: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/dcra/ARDORs.aspx

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)

Contact information for SBDC Offices around the state: https://aksbdc.org/contact/

AK CARES: FAQs and Application Checklist