Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Connect Grant: building sustainability for two businesses with one grant

We know our Downtown Winnipeg BIZ members need support to make it through this challenging time. To help, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is excited to announce a new grant in the form of a services program designed to help businesses build capacity and sustain the second wave of COVID-19.

Downtown Winnipeg has plenty of experts – many of them the best in their fields. The new Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Connect Grant will connect member businesses that need support with downtown businesses who can provide it.

How it works:

Applicants will select a service area where they need to build capacity or adapt their business to help generate revenue or manage other challenges that COVID-19 has presented. Once approved, applicants will be connected with a member business expert who can provide the service they need. Some examples of services the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Connect Grant covers include business and strategy development, marketing, website support, online sales platform development, HR and staffing solutions, legal services and IT support.  

The grant is designed to build sustainability for the recipient while also supporting the member business who provides the service. Simply put, it supports two downtown businesses with one grant.

Because we are committed to an inclusive program, 20% of the grants will be allocated for BIPOC-owned (Black, Indigenous, person of colour-owned) businesses and 20% of the grants will be allocated for businesses owned by women.

For a summary of this information, download the info sheet.

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted online or by filling out the PDF form.

If you prefer to fill out the PDF form, applications can be submitted by:

  • Email
  • In person at our office (426 Portage Avenue, M-F 8:30 a.m – 4:30 p.m.)
  • Mail:
    Downtown Winnipeg BIZ
    426 Portage Avenue
    Winnipeg, MB R3C 0C9
  • If you’re located downtown, we can arrange for a pickup by one of our Downtown Ambassadors. To schedule a pickup, please call 204.958.7233 M-F between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Eligibility Requirements

Businesses that are eligible meet the following criteria:

  • The principal place of business must be within the Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone (BIZ) and the business must pay a Downtown Winnipeg BIZ levy. (Please check your business address to make sure it is within the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ limits).
  • The business has less than 50 employees.
  • The business has experienced a decline in net revenues or hardship as a result of COVID-19.
  • The business is independent or locally owned (franchises are included).
  • Owner(s) have not prepared the business for closure or dissolution following March 2020. For example: 
    • Announced a permanent closure to their employees or customers
    • Held a closing-out sale
    • Listed their business for sale
  • Businesses must complete reporting during and following use of funds (ex. invoice submission, revenue, follow up survey).
  • Businesses must have the ability to share the impact of this grant for Downtown Winnipeg BIZ marketing and promotional purposes.

The following organizations are not eligible (as the program is only open to Downtown Winnipeg BIZ levy-paying members):

  • Non-profit organizations
  • Churches or religious organizations
  • Government agencies or offices
  • Residential projects

Applications will be reviewed and selected based on the following considerations:

  • Alignment with the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ mission: We promote, care and advocate for a vibrant and inclusive downtown where business thrives and people are drawn to work, live, shop and explore.
  • Ability to demonstrate a connection between the service selected and ability to sustain business operations.
  • Contribution to the long term sustainability of downtown:
    • ability to generate increased revenue
    • maintain/increase jobs

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

If you are applying for a grant, you will be looking for services that will help your business build sustainability through the COVID-19 pandemic. Types of services available include:

  • Marketing/advertising/branding/graphic design
  • Web services, including adding an online selling platform to your website
  • Finance/accounting
  • HR, including staffing solutions and strategies
  • Legal services
  • IT support
  • Business strategy

If you’re interested in getting involved and think your downtown business could be a fit for the program, please contact us at info@downtownwinnipegbiz.com.

No. The costs incurred (up to $2,500) for the services provided directly to you will be covered by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Connect Grant.

The applications are open now. We will continue to accept applications until all of the funds are allocated. The grants will be awarded to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis so we encourage you to submit your application soon.

Grant applications that meet the above requirements will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Alignment with the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ mission: We promote, care and advocate for a vibrant and inclusive downtown where business thrives and people are drawn to work, live, shop and explore.
  • Ability to demonstrate a connection between the service selected and ability to sustain business operations.
  • Contribution to the long term sustainability of downtown:
    • ability to generate increased revenue
    • maintain/increase jobs
  • 20% of the grants are allocated to BIPOC-owned businesses (business owned by someone who identifies as Black, Indigenous or a person of colour). If there are less than 20% BIPOC-owned businesses that qualify, then other qualifying businesses will be chosen.
  • 20% of the grants are allocated to women-owned businesses.  If there are less than 20% women-owned businesses that qualify, then other qualifying businesses will be chosen.

You will need your business (GST) number.

It’s a good idea to also have your City tax bill with your current address to verify you are a Downtown Winnipeg BIZ member.

Applications can be submitted using either the online form or a downloadable PDF form.

PDF applications can be mailed, emailed, dropped off at our office (426 Portage Avenue) or if it’s within our zone, picked up by one of our Downtown Ambassadors. To schedule a pickup, please call 204.958.7233 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ will evaluate your application on a first-come, first-served basis. Once you’ve submitted an application, we will be in touch to confirm receipt and to let you know your application is under review. During the review, we may follow up to ask additional questions to ensure you are matched with the best service provider that meets your needs. You will hear from us regardless of the outcome of your application.

If you’re approved and once a match is made, you’ll be notified and connected with your service provider. You’ll also be asked to sign an agreement that outlines the terms of the program.

We are aiming for a response time of 2-3 weeks. Timing may vary, especially during the holidays.

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ will check in with you to learn how the program has helped to sustain your business. If you have a success story, we want to hear it! And we might even want to share it.

We’re happy to help. Please email info@downtownwinnipegbiz.com or phone 204.958.4640.

Absolutely. Please email info@downtownwinnipegbiz.com or phone 204.958.4640.


Thank you to our Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Connect Grant service partners: