The 2024 Georgetown Main Street Small Business Grant fund is $40,000 total. Grant funds will be split into two buckets.
1. Facade Improvements: up to two recipients
2. Business Growth: no fewer than 7 recipients
Facade Improvement Grant, Fund size: ~$10,000
GMS will help and project manage one major exterior improvement. The GMS Board of Directors are interested in properties that have maximum need. NEW: Applicant must agree to contribute no less than 25% of the total project amount.
Facade improvement may include:
New & OGB Compliant Signage
Competitive Edge Grant, Fund size: ~$30,000
GMS will fund no fewer than seven business applications for business growth opportunities. Grants can be used for a variety of purposes aimed at fostering expansion, development, and increased revenue generation. Ideas include:
Innovation: Developing and introducing new products, services, or processes can meet customer needs in a novel and efficient way.
Efficient Operations: Streamline internal processes, optimize supply chains, and improving overall operational efficiency.
Customer Experience: Provide an exceptional customer experience through personalized service, responsiveness, and effective communication.
Market Research and Understanding: Businesses that stay informed about market trends, customer preferences, and industry developments are better positioned to adapt and respond quickly to changes.
Brand Reputation: A positive brand image built on trust, reliability, and a commitment to values can attract and retain customers.
Talent and Skills: Having a skilled and motivated workforce can contribute to innovation, efficiency, and overall business success.
Effective Marketing and Positioning: A well-executed marketing strategy can effectively communicate a business's unique value proposition and resonate with its target audience.
The application is quick and should not take more than 30 minutes to complete. These funds are possible thanks to the Main Street grant from the Department of Small and Local Business Development.
The application opens on Friday, February 9. The deadline is March 1. Applicants will be notified of their award status by Friday, March 22.
GMS will host a virtual information session to share more information about the grant application and evaluation criteria. Please RSVP.
Applicants must be considered a small, locally owned business operating in the Georgetown Main Street corridor. (Check your address here.) Locally owned/operated franchises are eligible.
Applicants who have received over $5,000 from GMS in the past 3 years are not eligible for the FY24 grant.
Applicants must have all appropriate and current licenses, permits, and other necessary registration to be a legally operating business in Washington, DC.
In 2024, the small business grant recipients will be evaluated out of 100 based on the following criteria:
Facade Improvement Grant:
Current condition of the property (50 points)
Size of property and visibility in the community (30 points)
Recent and planned upkeep and investment (10 points)
Condition of property relative to neighboring properties (10 points)
The worse the condition of the facade, the more points the application receives.
Competitive Edge Grant:
Proposed use of grant funds & impact on business operations (40 points)
Thoughtfulness and strategy for use of funds (30 points)
Engagement with Georgetown community (15 points)
Plan for project implementation (15 points)
ELIGIBLE EXPENSES IN 2024
Eligible Expenses for Facade Improvement Grant:
Doors and Windows
Patios or decks (with evidence of proper Summer Garden or Sidewalk Cafe permits)
Eligible Expenses for Competitive Edge Grant:
New or upgraded equipment or technology (new point of sale system or
New or improved brand guidelines, marketing strategy, website
Other expenses related to enhancing business operations
Ineligible expenses include, but are not limited to:
Merchandise (meant for sale), financing of existing debt, rent, payroll, day-to-day operational costs, maintenance and moving expenses, replaced of equipment, loan interest, and any expenses incurred before 10-1-2023 and after 9-30-2024.
ELIGIBLE BUSINESSES IN 2024
●Any business located outside of the GMS boundaries
●Businesses that have received over $5,000 from GMS in the past 3 years
●Businesses without appropriate and current licenses, permits, and other necessary registration to be a legally operating business in Washington, DC
●Businesses that do not have have at least 1 year remaining on their lease or fail to submit an LOI for lease renewal
●Professional Services (i.e. real estate, accounting, legal firms, etc...)
●Nonprofit organizations without storefront retail
●District of Columbia government agencies
●Any organization that discriminates against individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, political affiliation, physical handicap, or any other protected class under the DC Human Rights Act and/or any federal anti-discrimination statute or regulation
Q: How do I know if my business falls within the Georgetown Main Street boundaries?
A: You can type your business address into this map to see if it falls within the GMS boundaries or another DC Main Street boundary. Unfortunately businesses outside the GMS boundaries are ineligible for this grant, no exceptions can be considered.
Q: I started working on a project that fits this criteria earlier this year. Can GMS reimburse me as part of this project?
A: Yes, if the Grants Committee determines your project fits the criteria, the funds from this grant program can apply to expenses as far back as October 1, 2023, but not earlier.
Q: My retail business is a non-profit, are we eligible for this grant?
A: Yes! Non-profit retail businesses are eligible for consideration for this grant program. Submission of this application does not constitute an agreement to issue a grant award.
Q: What is a Landlord Affidavit and why do I need it if I'm doing exterior or interior renovations?
A: A Landlord Affidavit is a document indicating the landlord of your property acknowledges and accepts the physical and/or structural changes you have made or propose to make to the property. Georgetown Main Street doesn't want to approve a project that is a surprise to the landlord! Click here for a template you can send to your landlord.
Contact the GMS Grants Committee at email@example.com. Due to a high volume of questions, please allow 2 business days for a response.