Downtown businesses could win up to $28,000 for expansion ideas

Charles City, IA – Do you have a great idea for expanding or growing your business? Charles City businesses located in the downtown district that do are eligible for up to $28,000 in grant funding from a competitive program being offered through Community Revitalization and Main Street Iowa.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2021 Open 4 Business contest, designed to encourage business growth and expansion in downtown districts. Grant funding could be used for adding new inventory or services previously not offered, adding new equipment, computers or software upgrades toward that expansion, or marketing of the new offerings. Five semi-finalist winners will receive an $8,000 grant, while one state contest winner will take home an additional $20,000 to put toward their business project.

To be eligible, you must be a for-profit retail or service business, have been in operation since March 31, 2020, and have a physical location in the downtown district or plan to by July 2021. You must also be able to provide at least a 25 percent cash match towards your project. A five-minute video pitch about the business expansion idea and how the grant funds would be utilized is also required. Videos do not have to be professionally done and can be shot using a cell phone. Creativeness in making the video pitch is encouraged.

This competition is only open to Main Street Iowa communities, which includes Charles City, and the local Main Street programs may only submit one application per community. If more than one grant application is received by Community Revitalization, the Business Improvement Committee will judge them to select the application it feels is the most competitive for the state-wide contest. The local submission deadline is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. The five semi-finalists will be announced by June 1, with the final presentations and winner selection on August 2 at the Iowa Downtown Conference in Iowa City.

Interested businesses are encouraged to contact the Community Revitalization office for more information and application assistance at 401 North Main St., phone (641) 228-2335.

Community Revitalization is a non-profit, volunteer-drive organization dedicated to enhancing a strong downtown Charles City as part of a great place to live, work and play.


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