Small Business Grants Available to Help Companies Fill Vacant Storefronts

grants available to help companies fill vacant storefronts

Many communities are working to fill vacant storefronts throughout their commercial districts. Business closures, many affected by the pandemic, have left these areas with fewer storefronts and decreased economic activity. Small business grant programs are one tool that some states and communities are using to incentivize businesses to fill these spaces. Read about a couple of such programs that are currently accepting applications below.

Maryland Project Restore 2.0 and Business Boost Grant Programs

Maryland just unveiled a new $10 million grant program to support small businesses throughout the state. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Project Restore 2.0 and Business Boost grant programs aim to help businesses start up or expand and fill vacant storefronts to spur economic activity throughout commercial areas. Specifically, Project Restore 2.0 offers $8 million in total funds, which will go to Main Street groups or economic development organizations. Each applicant can receive up to $300,000, which they can then sub-grant to local businesses interested in filling priority vacant storefronts. The Business Boost grant program will offer a total of $2 million through its first round. Funds will go directly to small business owners in grants of between $20,000 and $50,000. To qualify, businesses must be located or expanding into designated Sustainable Communities. Applications for both programs will become available on March 13.

New Jersey Main Street Acquisition Support Grant

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is creating a new pilot program that will help small business owners purchase commercial properties. The Main Street Acquisition Support Grant will provide reimbursement grants that cover a portion of closing costs after eligible businesses close on an existing New Jersey commercial property that they will use to operate their business. To qualify, the closing must take place after the application period opens, and the application must be submitted within a year of closing. The program currently has a total of $5 million in funding, which will be dispersed in grants of up to $50,000. The state will use closing documentation like HUD-1 statements to determine grant amounts.

GM Moving Flint Forward

GM is launching a new funding round of its Moving Flint Forward program to support companies in Flint, Michigan. During this round, 17 local businesses that are new to the program will receive grants of up to $10,000. In addition, seven program alumni can apply for up to $5,000 each. GM originally launched Moving Flint Forward back in 2019, and so far, it has helped 68 businesses expand or improve their facilities. The program also connects grantees with resources they can use to improve beyond the grant period, including networking events, workshops, and cohort meetings. To qualify, businesses must be located in Flint, have 20 or fewer employees, and not be affiliated with a franchise program. Applications for this round are due by March 15.

SpringBoard Small Business Grants

SpringBoard, a coworking space in Centre County, Pennsylvania, just launched its 2024 grant opportunity to support local businesses. The annual grant program is funded by Arize Federal Credit Union and the Centre County Government. The program will award two grants – one to a brand-new business and another to a business that has been around for at least a year. Each recipient will get a $2,500 grant and a one-year membership to SpringBoard, which includes access to the coworking space, conference room rentals, and SpringBoard programming. Applications are due by April 12, with winners announced April 30.

Lowell Community Teamwork Grant

Community Teamwork Inc. recently received a $125,000 MassDevelopment grant to support its Entrepreneurship Center and provide resources for entrepreneurs throughout the Lowell, Massachusetts area. Community Teamwork’s Entrepreneurship Program offers technical assistance for entrepreneurs, especially those with low incomes. The funds from this grant will go toward programs that support business owners in Lowell’s Acre neighborhood. Funds won’t be provided directly to businesses, but there are a variety of programs that will ultimately benefit local entrepreneurs through this assistance.

Michigan Small Business Support Hubs program

Michigan recently awarded grants to 27 local business organizations through its Small Business Support Hubs program. The program awarded a total of $275 in funds to organizations like The Great Lakes Bay Small Business Hub in Mt. Pleasant. Each organization is receiving about $2.7 million, which they will use to provide resources to local businesses. These programs may include one-on-one coaching, educational programs, networking events, mentorship, and access to capital.

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.

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