The Hawaii Business Pivot Grant application is now closed.

Mahalo to the more than 3,300 applicants who applied for a grant.

The grant application was open from October 22  – November 23.

Determinations are being sent out on a rolling basis. Applicants can check the status of their grant application by logging into Submittable.

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Overview & Eligibility

  • Companies or non-profits (501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19)) registered to do business in Hawaii that have fewer than 100 employees at the time of submission of application.
  • The company must have suffered an economic injury due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • An eligible business must actually operate in a physical commercial space in Hawaii. Home-based businesses are ineligible. Agricultural businesses are eligible if they meet all qualifications.  Eligibility will be determined by assessing Tax Map Key associated with the location of business operation.
  • Must have been in business prior to March 20, 2020.

Required Documents

  • Completed Federal Form W-9
  • Current Hawaii DCCA Certificate of Good Standing or General Excise License that establishes registration prior to March 20, 2020
  • Form 941, most recent payroll register or Form 990
  • Sole Proprietors: Please upload your most recent Schedule C or click here to download an attestation that you could upload as an alternate form.
  • For those leasing commercial space, a page of your current commercial lease verifying your business address AND the signature page(s) of your lease.
  • For those who own property, please upload a copy of your most recent real property tax bill.
  • Voided check for reimbursement account (if requesting ACH reimbursement).
  • Receipts, paid invoice, or credit card statement and verification of payment for all submitted expenses.
  • Expenses of $25 or above will be accepted.
  • Taxes other than sales tax are not reimbursable.

Categorizing Your Expenses


Part of your application will include categorizing each submitted expense as part of your pivot. You will need to select one of the following categories or other (submissions categorized as other will increase review time):

New Product or Service 

A “new” product or service is one that materially did not exist prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.  While “materially” is a subjective term, the intent is what matters.  The general guide is whether or not a repeat customer who was familiar with the full product or service offerings of the business would consider the product or service something they had not seen previously.  

New Market (Geographic or Customer Segment):

A “new” market can either be defined as a geography or customer segment that the business did not reach prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This involves the business using new channels to reach customers who were not previously part of the business’ customer base prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This may include redefining or expanding a customer target market or creating customer profiles to better refine the messaging of how an existing product or service meets the needs of that target market or customer profile.  For example, a producer of a locally-produced consumer product primarily sold items at the Farmer’s Market and local retail stores expands to the mainland (geographic). 

New Marketing & Sales Channel

To reach a new market the business often uses a new Marketing & Sales Channel.  This refers to the means by which the business reaches its target market.  For example, a consumer-packaged goods company based in Hawaii creates a new e-Commerce website or joins the Amazon Marketplace to sell its existing products or services online to the U.S. mainland or globally whereas prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the company’s market was almost entirely in-bound tourists to Hawaii and Hawaii residents. 

Re-Branding or Re-Positioning an Existing Product or Service

A re-brand or re-positioning is a strategy to differentiate the business’ product or service or the entire business itself from its competition.  This “pivot” usually occurs when the business is attempting to greater clarity and awareness of the uniqueness of its solution.  For example, in 1991 when “Kentucky Fried Chicken” rebranded itself to “KFC” this was a strategic “pivot” to remove “fried” from its brand amidst a growing market of health-conscious consumers; it was the same 11 herbs & spices recipe and cooking method, but the brand and positioning in the mind of consumers is what the company was after. 

Physical Distancing Measures

Expenses incurred after Oct. 1, 2020

Process Improvement, Automation & Re-Training

Another type of “pivot” involves substantial changes to operational processes as a means to lower the cost structure of the business, often with the increased capacity to scale.  This may include a change in resource inputs, process automation, process improvements, or policy & process documentation to transfer business functions to lower cost staff members or outsourcing entirely.  For example, a business with expenses related to outsourcing non-strategic business functions such as Accounting/Bookkeeping or Payroll can be said to have “pivoted” to free-up valuable owner capacity to strategic endeavors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This may also involve re-training staff to meet the new operational changes implemented.  For example, a business invests in a Technical Assistance program to train and educate staff on how to create and maintain Facebook & Instagram ads as part of its new social media program.