Innovation Fund Details

 

As of June 25th, 2021, Small businesses in Center City will once again be able to apply for grants from the Small Business Innovation Fund.  Grants will be prioritized to small businesses that create unique experiences for neighborhoods, including storefront businesses, distinctive products or services, and/or exceptional community engagement. Innovations with the potential to replicate, scale, or foster collaboration will be prioritized in the review process.

Thank you for your creative entrepreneurship and service to our community. You make this place better.

 

 

 

Funding:

  • 2021 Opportunities of the Innovation Fund will focus on innovative projects related to the unique opportunities facing Charlotte small businesses today, as COVID-19 restrictions abate and businesses respond to new patterns of work and commuting, and a community with pent-up demand for gathering, traveling, and engaging in cultural and urban experiences. 
  • Grants of $10,000, $20,000 or $40,000 per Center City business
    • Grants for joint applications from multiple Center City businesses may exceed $40,000 at the discretion of the Review Committee.
  • The grant funding must be used for an innovative investment to respond to 2021 opportunities related to COVID-19 recovery and adaptations. The goal is to support small businesses in resiliency and responding to new opportunities. Funds CANNOT be used for day-to-day operating expenses, like payroll, vendor payments, losses, utilities, rent, or mortgage

Eligibility:

  • Small businesses must have an existing physical location within two miles of Trade and Tryon Streets, or be expanding business, services or products within the Center City geography. 
  • The business headquarters is located within the Charlotte region.
  • The business had 50 employees (full and part-time) or fewer as of March 1, 2021.
  • 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:

  • Minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses
  • Small businesses that create unique experiences for neighborhoods, including but not limited to storefront businesses, distinctive products or services, and/or exceptional community engagement.
  • Innovations and adaptations with potential to replicate and scale or create multi-sector collaborations.

Timeline and process going forward:

  • Pre-Application Webinar: June 22nd at 9:00 am: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_urOj6et_SG6mAFhSNyVGng
  • Application window: Will open June 25th at noon and will close at noon on July 9th
  • Review process through Technical Review Team and Review Committee: July & August
  • Grant confirmation, press release, contacting and setting up fund delivery time: Late August

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?

Stay connected:

  • If you are interested in learning more or have any questions about the Center City Small Business Innovation Fund as details become available, please send an email to: innovationfund@charlottecentercity.org