CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte Center City Small Business Innovation Fund has awarded $1,166,000 in a second round of grants to Center City small businesses as they continue to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis.
Minority-, women- or veteran-owned businesses comprise 92% of the 37 second-round grantees. These businesses join the 34 awarded grants in August during the first round. All are located throughout Uptown, South End and Historic West End.
Round two grants will enable the 37 businesses to invest in new innovations and adaptations, including e-commerce opportunities, digital enhancements, virtual environments and wearable technology to help with contactless delivery.
“The fund is now supporting more than 70 businesses investing in their future during this pandemic, which is a true testament to Center City’s future and resiliency,” said Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. “Once you connect those entrepreneurs and their innovative projects plus the additional programming and other projects coming on-line, Charlotte and Center City are poised to continue to innovate and outperform during this recovery.”
The Charlotte Center City Small Business Innovation Fund launched in June as a collaboration among Charlotte Center City Partners, Foundation For The Carolinas and founding sponsor Honeywell, which invested $2 million in the fund.
“The 71 small businesses that received grants from the Innovation Fund will make Charlotte more resilient and vibrant,” said Greg Lewis, Honeywell chief financial officer.
Bank of America and Duke Energy also joined as sponsors of the grant program this summer, bringing the initial fund to approximately $2.3 million. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation also pledged $250,000 to help more businesses in Historic West End overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.
The second round of applications opened in early September. A total of 247 completed applications were received.
The application period for round three opens Oct. 26. Funding sources for this round will be federal funding through the CARES Act and City of Charlotte. Therefore, all small businesses located throughout the city are eligible to apply.
Details about the fund will be available at www.CharlotteCenterCity.org/InnovationFund.