City of Charlotte and Charlotte Center City Partners Grant $1.4 Million to 45 businesses across the City in the Third Round of the Small Business Innovation Fund
Cory Burkarth
Innovation Fund Update

CHARLOTTE (December 21, 2020) – The City of Charlotte and Charlotte Center City Partners today announced that the Charlotte Center City Small Business Innovation Fund awarded $1,410,000 in Round Three grants to 45 small businesses within the Charlotte city limits to spur and support innovation as they continue to adapt to the new economic realities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 45 Round Three grant recipients join the 71 recipients from Rounds One and Two, bringing the total grant recipient number to 116 with approximately $3.6M in funding.

The Charlotte Center City Small Business Innovation Fund launched in June as a collaboration between Charlotte Center City Partners, Foundation For The Carolinas and founding sponsor Honeywell, which invested $2 million in the fund. Bank of America, Duke Energy and the Knight Foundation also joined as partners. Round Three is approved and exclusively funded by the City of Charlotte using a portion of the city’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds and was available to small businesses within the Charlotte city limits to spur innovation and adaptation.

Every one of these innovative ideas is a testament to the ingenuity and resiliency of Charlotte’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. The third-round recipients are located throughout the City in a variety of sectors including, retail; food and beverage; arts, culture and entertainment; logistics; healthcare; and consulting services.

“We are so pleased to make these grants to innovative small business owners from one end of the City to the other,” said Vi Lyles, Mayor of the City of Charlotte. “They are the lifeblood of our City, our economy and our Region. The Small Business Innovation Fund is leading the way in innovation in Charlotte and across the country. These adaptations and innovations will enable our City to advance and thrive.”

As with Rounds One and Two, the Round Three grants will enable these small businesses to better:

  • Reach consumers through creating e-commerce opportunities and making digital enhancements

  • Connect customers’ new routines and spending habits with investments in mobility and contactless delivery

  • Create unique places, services, and products with upgrades in equipment and infrastructure

  • Serve other businesses with more advanced B2B services, thus enabling even more businesses to be resilient

The full list of the Round Three grant recipients is attached.

“We were thrilled to see so many innovative ideas emerge,” said Holly Eskridge, City of Charlotte Assistant Economic Development Director and chair of the Small Business Innovation Fund Round Three Grant Review Committee. “These grants give businesses an opportunity to invest in critical areas that will allow them to innovate, grow, and succeed in 2021.”

“Round 3 of the Small Business Innovation Fund is a true testament to Charlotte’s success story of private, public, and philanthropic sectors partnering to continually advance our community,” said Michael Smith, President and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. “Due to the City’s investment of federal funds for this round coupled with the recipients from Rounds 1 and 2, the fund is now helping more than 116 businesses innovate through this pandemic. These types of partnerships are enabling Charlotte to be better positioned in the recovery.”