Small Business
Honeywell invests $2M in a program to help enterprises adapt to the COVID-19 crisis; priority given to minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses. Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

Honeywell and Charlotte Center City Partners announced the creation of the Center City Small Business Innovation Fund, an initiative designed to spur and support innovation and adaptation by storefront small businesses as they adapt to new economic realities caused by the COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn. This program is launching with an initial investment of $2 million by Honeywell and in partnership with Foundation For The Carolinas.

"Small businesses contribute greatly to Charlotte's growth and vibrancy, and Honeywell is proud to support them in overcoming the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis," said Honeywell Chairman and CEO Darius Adamczyk. "With the help of our two distinguished civic partners, we look forward to providing resources that small businesses in the Center City can use to make adaptations that help ensure their long-term prosperity as an integral part of our community."

"Our Center City has been a leading force for recovery and resiliency in the past and will play a unique and foundational role in Charlotte's return," said Michael J. Smith, President, and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. "With the launch of this fund, alongside incredible partners like Honeywell and Foundation For The Carolinas, we are excited and honored to support the small businesses and entrepreneurs that drive our Center City's character and vibrancy."

Through the fund, a diverse advisory committee will provide grants of up to $40,000 to small businesses within Charlotte's Center City as they adapt their operations or business models in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is intended to support these local businesses as they seek to innovate to stay competitive and advance, leveraging Charlotte's strong history of public-private partnerships. Priority will be shown to minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses.

"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," said Michael Marsicano, president and CEO of Foundation For The Carolinas. "Now we have an opportunity to support Center City's small business community as they pivot to adapt to changing times. I'm thankful for the extraordinary generosity of Honeywell, as well as the Foundation's partnership with Charlotte Center City Partners and its forward-thinking leadership in launching this effort."

Small businesses within a two-mile radius of Trade St. and Tryon St. will be able to apply for grants from the fund. Applicants will outline their adaptations and innovations that will enable them to advance their business. Applicants will detail costs and their readiness to implement the ideas, as well as agree to share their lessons so others may learn from their experience. Grants will be targeted to storefront businesses that create unique experiences and ideas with the potential to replicate, scale, or foster collaboration.

The Center City Small Business Innovation Fund will open for applications on June 26, 2020.

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