Storefront improvement grants can help with the physical restorations of a location, which are often costly for small businesses. So, grant programs can help make these upgrades more realistic. Currently, several cities and organizations across the country are running such programs to support their downtown business districts and economies. Read on for these grant opportunities and a few other headlines.
Chicago 7th District Small Business Restoration Grant
Chicago’s 7th District Small Business Restoration Grant is currently accepting applications from local businesses. The program offers one-time, $10,000 microgrants to small businesses with brick-and-mortar locations within the district. It specifically targets businesses that have missed out on previous funding opportunities, historically underserved entrepreneurs, and those that are facing financial hardships or are in danger of closing. The 7th district is partnering with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to fund the program. And five local organizations are charged with facilitating the program and application process. These organizations include the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, Rogers Park Business Alliance, Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, Uptown United Lincoln Square, and Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce. Eligible businesses must apply by February 2 to be considered.
Decatur Commercial Buildout Improvement Grant
Businesses in Decatur, Georgia, can now apply for three small business grant programs. The Decatur Downtown Development Authority is currently accepting applications for the Commercial Buildout Improvement Grant, Marketing and Digital Connectivity Grant, and Commercial Facade Improvement Grant. The DDA is allocating $50,000 to the Commercial Buildout Improvement Grant, $25,000 to the Marketing and Digital Connectivity Grant, and $100,000 to the Commercial Facade Improvement Grant. All of these programs will allow businesses to apply quarterly, with a 21-day application window during each quarter. Once the DDA oversight committee closes the application window and reviews proposals, it will notify businesses, which must then begin their projects within six months and complete them within 18 months. Jan 31 is the deadline to apply for the current grant cycle.
Raleigh Storefront Upfit Grant
The Downtown Raleigh Alliance in Raleigh, North Carolina, is currently offering grants to minority and women entrepreneurs through its Storefront Upfit Grant. The organization is dedicating roughly $90,000 to the program, which it will award to nine businesses in the downtown area. Charlotte, North Carolina, is also planning a similar program called the Small Business Innovation Fund, which is expected to accept applications later in the year. February 1 is the deadline for Downtown Raleigh businesses to submit applications and supporting documents for the Storefront Upfit Grant.
New Ulm Small Business Incentive Grant Program
New Ulm, Minnesota, is making multiple changes to its Small Business Incentive Grant Program. The first change involves decreasing the grant amount to $7,500, which will allow the city to award ten grants instead of five starting during the 2025 grant cycle. Another change involving opening the program for applications quarterly was also discussed but ultimately rejected. The Small Business Incentive Grant program has run since 2019, helping local businesses cover start-up costs. Since businesses applied for the 2024 grant cycle before the changes were announced, New Ulm has decided to approve all 14 grant submissions for the year. So the new grant amounts and rules will not kick in until 2025.
U.S. Department of Energy SBIR and SBTT Awards
The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded grants totaling $24 million to small businesses across 30 states and the District of Columbia. During this funding cycle, the DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards funded 111 projects. These programs aim to support the development of new technologies and products that support scientific discovery. In addition to these federal grant funds, many states also provide matching grant programs that recipients can apply for to make an even larger impact on their innovations and operations.
Chatham WCEC Women’s Business Center Grant
The WCEC Women’s Business Center in Chatham, New Jersey, recently received a grant from the Public Service Enterprise Group to support its eCommerce program. The program offers educational services to women entrepreneurs in 14 counties across northern New Jersey who want to start or enhance e-commerce offerings. The award is part of the PSEG Foundation’s Neighborhood Partners Program, which offers grants to organizations that support social justice, equity, and economic empowerment. This year, the organization awarded $1,040,300 to 301 community organizations, including the WCEC Women’s Business Center.
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