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Hub for Inclusivity, Innovation,
and Entrepreneurship (HIIVE)

A Nine-Week Small Business Educational Program

Cohort One: October 2023–February 2024

Charlotte Center City Partners is launching the Charlotte Hub for Inclusivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (HIIVE) program. This is a small business resource hub focused on providing educational curriculum and operating space opportunities to food and retail businesses. HIIVE intends to bolster small business skills as well as provide practical insights, networking opportunities, and real-world experiences. The resource hub will prioritize supporting small businesses owned by people of color, women, and/or veterans with the aspiration of successfully operating in Center City’s unique business environment.

In 2020, Charlotte Center City Partners helped create the Small Business Innovation Fund (SBIF) to support businesses navigating the new economic realities of Covid-19. The program has helped 143 small businesses throughout Charlotte and approximately 89% are owned by people of color, women, and/or veterans.

The SBIF supported incredible entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas as well as identifying the need to strengthen foundational business skills to become more resilient. The expertise needed to reach higher potentials and become more sustainable included, marketing, access to capital, sales strategies, human resources, and necessary connections into emerging business networks. One of the goals of HIIVE is the continuation of the SBIF helping small businesses thrive so they can continue to enhance the vibrancy of Center City.

HIIVE was made possible by the City of Charlotte’s Small Business Ecosystem Parter Grant Fund and additional partners in Charlotte’s small business environment.

HIIVE Tuition: $150 (Due upon acceptance to the program)

Program Overview:

HIIVE is a nine-week small business educational program that combines engaging instruction, structured discussions, cohort learning, intentional networking, and opportunities to gain operational experience in a physical space at the Market at 7th Street.

Program goals:

  • Serve the unique needs of small businesses through a strong foundation of education, mentorship, networking, and access to opportunities.
  • Prioritize supporting small businesses owned by people of color, women, and/or veterans who often have disproportionate access to small business resources.
  • Support small businesses with the aspiration of successfully operating in Center City’s urban business environment, including Uptown, South End, and Midtown.

This program aligns with small businesses that are:

  • Operating in Center City (Uptown, South End, and/or Midtown) and are considering expanding their presence in Center City.
  • Looking to open a location in Center City.
  • Motivated and driven to grow their business through the resources provided by HIIVE.
  • Welcoming, collaborative, customer-service orientated, and willing to share lessons learned with other small businesses.
  • Owned by entrepreneurs of color, women, and/or veterans.
  • Employing less than 12 employees.

Additional program details:

  • Top local business experts will lead nine small business education classes on Mondays between October 2023 and February 2024.
  • The classes will be held at or near the Market at 7th Street.
  • Each class will include:
    • Concise topics pertinent to small businesses (i.e. Access to capital, social media, and human resources)
    • Engaging and conversation-starting activities, including:
      • Structured discussions with successful small business entrepreneurs.
      • Networking-rich environments with industry professionals, small business education providers, Charlotte Center City Partners program directors, and other Center City stakeholders.
      • Expertise about the unique ecosystem of Uptown, South End, and Midtown, including the Market at 7th Street, city food cart and truck programs, and pop-up events.
  • Two businesses in the cohort will have the opportunity to enhance their business models and gain operational experience through a six-month rent-free, pop-up opportunity at the Market at 7th Street. The businesses earning this opportunity will need to meet additional criteria including:
    • Motivated to market and advertise the pop-up to generate sales and foot traffic.
    • Ability to operate in a small area and staff the shop for set range of hours.
    • Share a location with other retail tenants and adhere to the tenant code of conduct.
    • Obtain basic business liability and property insurance for the use of the pop-up spaces.
    • Report monthly transaction numbers to the Market at 7th Street. This information will remain confidential.

We appreciate your interest in HIIVE. If you have any questions about the program, requirements, or want to be added to the interest list for the next cohort, please don't hesitate to contact Jamie Hundley at

Las aplicaciones de HIIVE se reabrirán en la primavera de 2024. Agradecemos su interés en HIIVE. Si tiene alguna pregunta sobre el programa, los requisitos o desea ser agregado a la lista de interés para la próxima cohorte, no dude en ponerse en contacto con Jamie Hundley en

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