Applications now open for grants up to $50,000 to grow downtown and support businesses

October 19, 2022, Treaty No. 1 territory, Winnipeg, MB – Applications for the Building Business Grant Program announced in July are now open. With $2.5M in funding available from the Manitoba government in partnership with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC), the grant program is a part of Winnipeg’s Downtown Recovery Strategy and aims to refill empty downtown storefronts and support businesses in their pandemic recovery efforts.

Designed to attract new and support existing businesses in downtown Winnipeg, the Building Business Grant Program will lead to job creation, visually appealing storefronts, offices, and workspaces, and an energized downtown economy.

“In 2019, we had double the number of businesses opening downtown than closing and the pandemic flipped that trend,” says Kate Fenske, CEO of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “This program will build that momentum back to help businesses build capacity, attract new businesses to the neighbourhood and make downtown a more attractive place to work, visit and invest.”

Businesses can apply now for a grant under one of three streams. The grant will reimburse a portion of project costs, up to the maximums outlined below. Each stream aims to provide support for both new and existing businesses that are committed to downtown as a part of their long-term plans:

  • Grow the ground floor includes grants covering a portion of eligible project expenses up to $50,000 for new or existing outdoor storefronts and $30,000 for indoor storefronts.
  • Boost your bottom line offers up to $30,000 covering a portion of eligible project expenses for existing businesses looking to renovate their downtown storefront, office or workspace. This grant can also be utilized for businesses looking for business development services.
  • Elevate your workspace is a grant covering a portion of eligible project expenses of up to $30,000 for businesses who are ready to open a new downtown office or workspace, or existing businesses who are looking to expand their downtown business.

“Many businesses in the Exchange District are still reeling from the effects of the past two years. They’ve dug into savings and gone into debt to keep afloat, so their capacity to press forward in growing their business is nearly non-existent,” says David Pensato, Executive Director of Exchange District BIZ. “The Building Business Grant Program will offer critical funding to help these independent businesses survive and thrive, while providing opportunities for more to join them by filling up some of our empty storefronts.”

Applications will be reviewed as received, and all applicants will be contacted within 30 days. Businesses who need help with their application are invited to contact business@downtownrecovery.ca for assistance.

Detailed information including project options and eligibility requirements can be found in the Building Business Grant Program Guide.