Main Street Iowa and Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) are proud to announce the availability of Main Street Iowa Open 4 Business grants.
A state appropriation was made to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) for the Main Street Iowa Program to assist participating cities improve the physical and economic health of their designated Main Street districts. This state appropriation will allow Main Street Iowa to offer Open 4 Business Grants to participating communities for business expansion projects.
A maximum of $75,000 in funds will be awarded to eligible applicants for business expansion projects within designated Main Street Iowa districts. A map showing eligible Main Street districts is available at: https://www.iowaeda.com/UserDocs/2020mainstreetiowaprograms.pdf
Each program may receive a single award from this funding round. Only one application per program is allowed. The local Main Street Iowa program MUST be the applicant on behalf of the local business owner(s) as the grant beneficiary.
Main Street Iowa staff will review all applications for eligibility, project impact within the designated Main Street district, business innovation, and opportunity for continued growth, enhanced revenue, and sustainability. Successful applicants will be notified in writing of the grant awards.
All awarded projects must agree to provide Main Street Iowa with appropriate budgetary information and expenditures. Main Street Iowa also reserves the right to share this information, including testimonials and photographs of each project for educational and promotional purposes to further the mission of economic revitalization in designated Main Street commercial districts across the state.
. The PRIMARY goals of the FY 2021 MSI Open 4 Business grant are:
- Stimulate and support business expansion projects in Main Street districts
- Assist in local COVID-19 recovery efforts
- Create a positive climate for additional district investment
- Support local revitalization efforts
- Demonstrate “Main Street at work” in the local community
- Provide local Main Street programs with an exclusive financial incentive program
- Create additional jobs and business growth
These goals will be achieved through:
- Quality business expansion projects with enhanced revenue opportunities
- Creating unique business locations and product offerings
- Strategic investment by IEDA into key local projects
- Research and utilization of appropriate available financial resources/programs
- Creating local job and business opportunities
Main Street Iowa communities with current contracts who are meeting all contractual obligations including National Main Street Accreditation once within the past two years will be considered eligible for the Main Street Grant funds. Eligible projects must be within the designated Main Street district. Only the Main Street organization in participating communities may submit applications on behalf of local projects and businesses. Any business awarded Open 4 Business grant funding in the past is NOT eligible to apply. Void where prohibited. Awards will be made to the applicant Main Street organization, hereafter referred to as the Grantee, for disbursements to locally designated grant beneficiaries.
Maximum awards for this grant round will be $28,000. Minimum grants will be no less than $8,000. No program shall receive more than one award per application round.
Main Street Iowa programs in good standing and in compliance with all contractual requirements from previously awarded funds, if any, may apply on behalf of a business within the designated district. Only one submission per program, per round will be permitted.
The Open 4 Business Competition is open to legal residents of the State of Iowa. Must be 18 years old at the time of submitting an entry.
Participants must be a for-profit business located within a designated Main Street commercial district and been in operation for a minimum of one year prior to submitting an application.
Employees of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the local Main Street program, and the immediate family members of such employees (parent, child, sibling, spouse) are not eligible.
Grantee and all Grant Beneficiaries agree, to the best of their ability, to complete designated projects within 24 months of award notification or show just cause for the delay.
A 25% owner investment is required for all awarded grant funds. No previous expenditures of any kind will be considered as suitable cash match for a project.
Any projects funded in 2020 are not eligible to apply in 2021.
Each business will be required to submit a video (5-minute maximum) in addition to an online application and project budget describing how the business would use the Open 4 Business grant funds if awarded. Be creative and have fun! The video should be concise, informative, and tell the story of how the Open 4 Business grant funds would assist the business and community with continued business growth and development. Judges will not view videos beyond the first five minutes. Videos are not required to be professionally produced and will be judged on content rather than level of production.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 31, 2021
Late applications will not be considered. Only completed applications including all required documentation will be reviewed.
Main Street Iowa and IEDA staff will review submitted projects and make awards based on information provided in the grant application. Projects will be scored and ranked according to the scoring criteria outlined in the application.
The field of applications will be narrowed to 12 semi-finalists who will each receive a virtual interview with a panel of judges tentatively planned for May 26, 2021. Applicants will be narrowed to five (5) finalists who will advance to the state competition planned for July 26, 2021.
The announcement of project awards is tentatively planned for June 1, 2021. Exact time and location to be determined. Grantees will be notified of time and location as soon as details are finalized.
Once contracts are finalized and signed by all parties, and all budgets are finalized and approved, a project may begin execution. Projects may not commence without approval from Main Street Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
Funds for completed work will be disbursed at the following intervals. A partial reimbursement payment may be made, if so requested, when no less than one-half (1/2) of the project is completed and proper documentation including photographs of completed work to date, copies of invoices of expenditures marked paid, and proof of payment are submitted to Main Street Iowa. Partial payment cannot exceed 60% of entire grant amount.
Final payment will be made upon project completion including final inspection by Main Street Iowa staff. To request final reimbursement payment, applicants must submit invoices of expenditures marked paid, proof of payment and photographs of the completed project. Warrants will be dispersed following a project inspection by Main Street Iowa staff.
The terms and conditions detailed above are a broad outline of the Main Street Challenge Grant and are not intended to be all-inclusive. Terms and conditions are subject to change.