Innovation Fund Details

 

Small businesses in Charlotte Center City will be able to apply for grants from the fund. Applicants will outline their adaptations and innovations that have or will enable them to advance their business. Applicants will detail costs and an ability to implement as well as agree to share their lessons so others may learn from their experience. Grants will be prioritized to storefront businesses in Uptown, South End, Midtown, and Historic West End that create unique experiences. Priority will be shown to minority, women or veteran-owned businesses. Adaptations and innovations with the potential to replicate, scale, or foster collaboration will be prioritized in the review process. The first round of the Small Business Innovation Fund is closed. Please revisit this page for updates on when the second round opens.  

 

 

Funding:

  • Round one: Release up to 50% of funds from Center City Small Business Innovation Fund
  • Grants up to $40,000 per Charlotte Center City business
  • Additional rounds of funding will be available

 

Eligibility:

  • Small businesses must either have an existing physical location or is expanding its business in Uptown, South End, Midtown, Historic West End, or within the 2-mile radius of the Trade and Tryon Street intersection in Charlotte, NC. (see map below)
  • The business headquarters is located within the Charlotte region
  • The business had 50 employees (full and part-time) or fewer as of March 1, 2020
  • The business experienced adverse impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The business is willing to participate in interviews to document and share their lessons learned

 

 

Priority to:

  • Businesses with an existing physical location or is expanding their business in Uptown, South End, Midtown, or Historic West End
  • Minority, women or veteran-owned businesses
  • Storefront businesses that create unique experiences
  • Innovations and adaptations with potential to replicate and scale or create multi-sector collaborations

 

Timeline going forward:

  • June 24: Pre-application conference to provide insights and answer questions about the application process
  • June 26: First round of applications are open – click here to apply
  • July 10: First round of applications will close
  • September 2: Pre-application conference for Round 2 
  • September 4: Second round of applications are open – click here to apply
  • September 18: Second round of applications will close 

 

Applicants should begin to prepare basic business information and responses to the questions below:

  • Business verification (only one of these documents will be needed from this list):
    • IRS Letter with business name and EIN
    • Bank Statement with business name
    • Utility bill with business name
    • Mortgage statement or lease agreement with business name
    • Sales and Use Tax Report for Mecklenburg County with business name
    • Certificate of Insurance with business name
    • Please note: 
      • The bank, utility, and mortgage statements, if attached, must be dated within the last 3 months.
      • the Sales and Use Tax Report for Mecklenburg County, if attached, must be from 2020. 
  • Business Financials (only one of these documents will be needed from this list):
    • Form 1040, Schedule C for Sole Proprietor from most recent tax return (2018 or 2019)
    • Form 1065 for Partnerships/ LLCs from most recent tax return (2018 or 2019)
    • Form 1120 for C Corporations from most recent tax return (2018 or 2019)
    • Form 1120S for S Corporations from most recent tax return (2018 or 2019)
    • Form 990 for Nonprofits from most recent tax return (2018 or 2019)
    • Profit & Loss Statement from 2019 tax year
    • Balance Sheet from 2019 tax year
  • Application questions:
    • What does your business do or offer?
    • How does your business create a unique experience for the neighborhood?
    • How has COVID-19 affected your business?
    • What adaptations and innovations have been made since March 1, 2020?
    • What adaptations and innovations do you plan to make to your business? Why?
    • Do you have the know how to make the innovation happen?
    • How much will it cost? How much are you requesting? How will you fund the difference?
    • What’s your timeline to implement?
    • Collaborating with another business?

 

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