Knowledge Center

Small Business Innovation Fund

The Center City Small Business Innovation Fund is an initiative designed to spur and support innovation and adaptation by small businesses as they adapt to the new economic realities caused by the COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn. The major components of the initiative include:

• Quantitative and qualitative application process for small businesses to apply for grants of up to $40,000 from the Small Business Innovation Fund to advance those innovations. Grants can not be used for operations (i.e. rent, utilities, payroll).

• Robust outreach and educational efforts to reach and assist targeted small businesses (minority, women, veteran owned; unique experience) to best navigate the application process

• Multi-tiered, but efficient application review process to identify the most compelling applications. It’s an approximately 30-day process from application to receiving funds, which includes a review by a technical review team and grant review committee.

• Marketing efforts to celebrate grant recipients’ innovations

• Application feedback process to help small businesses make their applications more compelling for subsequent rounds

• Short to long-term follow-up process to measure grant impacts and collect lessons learned to spread benefits beyond grant recipients

There have been multiple challenges with the creation and implementation of the Small Business Innovation Fund. Most of those challenges spur from the imbalance of supply and demand. The best data point for this imbalance was the total grant amount requested compared to funds available for Round 3: $23 million requested vs. $1.41 million granted.

Project Details

Small Business Innovation Fund

Charlotte Center City Partners


Economic Development
$7500001 and over
North Carolina