Thinking about starting a business? Here downtown, we want to help you get started. We offer a variety of grant opportunities, and would love to learn more about your project! Check out our grant overview brochure, and plan on attending an upcoming Nuts & Bolts Info Session to learn more!

For More Information

For more information download the complete Grant Program Overview here.

Funding & Eligibility

The grants in this funding cycle are matching grants that require a 50% match by the applicant and are structured as deferred loans, which means that if the improvements stay in place for a period of three years the interest-free loan becomes a grant. However, if the business or property closes or changes hands, the appropriately pro-rated portion of the loans becomes due to the BDC.

This Small Grants Program is typically supported by funds from the City of Burlington General Fund and the Downtown Burlington Municipal Service District tax funds.

Grants will be awarded for eligible projects on a funds-available basis and at the discretion of the Burlington Downtown Corporation Board of Directors based on recommendations from the Grants Review Committee.


Criteria Descriptions:

Strength of Business Model: Creating a business model isn’t simply about completing your business plan or determining which products to pursue. It’s about mapping out how you will create ongoing value for your customers.

Investment Value and Estimated BDC ROI: Application will be scored based on the project’s total value in an effort to leverage the public investment as significantly as possible. The greater the anticipated return on the BDC’s investment, the higher the project will be scored under this criterion.

Potential to Influence Tax Value of Property: Attention will be given to projects that have the capacity to positively impact the property’s tax value and, in turn, increase the overall tax value of MSD properties overall.

Business Demand/Desirability to Current Mix: Each project will be scored according to how closely in-line it is with the BDC’s current business recruitment priorities.

Past Grant Funds Allocated to Property/Business: Preference will be given to new applicants over those who have previously been awarded a grant.

Good Standing of Existing Business/Business Owner: Applicant must be current with any required licenses, registrations, taxes, etc., in order to meet eligibility requirements.

Business Collaborator: A collaboration exists when multiple people/businesses pool their common interests, assets, and professional skill to promote and benefit the interests of downtown; product or service offered is in alignment with current downtown business mix.

The Process

GRANT CYCLE SCHEDULE The BDC’s Grant Program is administered on a quarterly basis. Grant applications are due for the 2018-2019 grant cycle no later than 12:00 p.m. on the dates indicated below, in order to be considered for that quarter’s granting cycle. Applications will open approximately one month prior to each quarter’s application due date. Additionally, applicants are required to attend a NUTS & BOLTS Information Session prior to applying for funding. Typically, two (2) sessions are held roughly five (5) weeks prior to the application due date. Awards are granted upon review of the BDC's Grant Committee and final approval of the full Board of Directors, based on funding availability.

Grant Cycle for 2018-2019.png


The guidelines outlined below simply highlight key guidelines of the program.
For complete guidelines download the Small Grant Program Overview by
clicking here.

  • Grants are awarded on a 50/50 matching basis (example: approved projects that cost $1,000 will be funded at $500) unless otherwise noted;

  • Grant awards cannot be used towards work that has already been completed or towards approved project activities that are already in process;

  • All design proposals must meet with the zoning requirements of the City of Burlington, and be properly permitted through the City of Burlington. Contact the City's Planning Department at 336.222.5110 for guidance on submitting your application for signage (Sign regulations available here & Sign info available here);

  • All projects (excluding Facade Improvement Projects) must be completed within one (1) year of the date that grant is awarded; Facade Improvement Projects must be completed within six (6) months of grant award;

  • Facade grants may only be used to finance exterior public-facing improvements; and

  • Facade projects must be completed with supporting materials submitted to the BDC within six (6) months of grant approval.


Begin your online application in the Grants Portal.