A new Covid-19 grant program aims to bolster the long-term viability of small businesses in Charlotte’s Center, City and it puts a priority on businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans.
On Wednesday, Honeywell and Charlotte Center City Partners launched the Center City Small Business Innovation Fund to help small businesses in and around Uptown innovate and adapt to the new economic realities caused by the pandemic and economic downturn.
The fund, with an initial investment of $2 million by Honeywell and in partnership with the Foundation For The Carolinas, will provide grants of up to $40,000. Priority will be shown to minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses, the sponsors said in a news release.
“During this crisis, we’ve seen our community step up in tremendous ways to support our neighbors and nonprofits through such efforts as the Covid-19 Response Fund,” Michael Marsicano, president and CEO of Foundation For The Carolinas, said in a news release. “Now we have an opportunity to support Center City’s small business community as they pivot to adapt to changing times.”
Shanté Williams, chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce, said most Covid-19 funding has been focused on emergency relief; few programs have been focused on what happens after the emergency. As businesses re-set, “we have an opportunity to build the future right now and that’s what this fund is geared toward,” said Williams, who also runs a venture capital firm.
Williams said her organization will encourage and help its member businesses — and any who seek their help — to apply. “We have to seize this opportunity to participate,” she said. “We want to be stronger on the other side of this (crisis).”
The Center City Small Business Innovation Fund opens for applications on June 26. Applicants will be notified of their status by Aug. 1.
Eligibility for grants
- Must have an existing physical location or is expanding business in Uptown, South End, Midtown, Historic West End, or within the 2-mile radius of the Trade and Tryon streets intersection.
- Headquarters must be located within Charlotte.
- The business had 50 or fewer employees (full and part-time) as of March 1.
- The business experienced adverse impacts due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The business is willing to participate in interviews and share lessons learned.
Businesses that received funds from other Covid-19 programs are still eligible for this fund. Click here for an FAQ about the innovation fund.