Salt Lake City Awards Eight Local and Creative Business Incubators Grant Funding Totaling $50K

The Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development has awarded a total of $50,000 in grant funding to eight diverse local organizations to encourage inventive entrepreneurship, business growth, and community building.

“This unique grant program bolsters our vibrant and diverse neighborhood districts while also supporting great business models and the entrepreneurs who develop them,” said Lara Fritts, Salt Lake City’s Director of Business and Economic Development. “These organizations offer new and creative approaches in building our economy and community, and I’m thrilled we can give them a boost in reaching their goals.”

The Business Cultivation Grants were created to assist firms with business district marketing efforts. This year, grant guidelines were expanded to include business incubators and accelerators, which resulted in several fresh and exciting proposals, Lara said.

The grant recipients and their award amounts are:

Future INDesign: $9,000

Church & State: $8,000

Sustainable Startups: $8,000

Pacific Island Business Alliance: $8,000

Avrec Art House: $5,000

Utah African-American Chamber of Commerce: $5,000

Utah Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce: $5,000

Impact Hub: $2,000

The winning proposals are as diverse as the groups that submitted them. The Pacific Island Business Alliance will use the funding to encourage business start-ups in the Pacific Islander community by mentoring marketing, advertising, and branding skills.

The Utah Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce proposes to establish and promote “safe zones” within Salt Lake City business districts. Safe zones are well-labeled, visible, and clearly designated businesses and spaces that commit to be supportive of all communities and free of bullying.

The Impact Hub’s award will help underwrite costs of an “Accelerate Community Impact Program,” which will bring professional businesses together to “radically improve” the downtown business district through market-based solutions.

Avrec Art House plans to offset costs of establishing a co-working space to assist local filmmakers.

Future INDesign will encourage workforce development in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers for young people ages 16 to 20 living on low-incomes.

Church & State plans to produce a “robust” video and content marketing platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups in Salt Lake City.

The Utah African-American Chamber of Commerce will be funded for costs associated with a Summer Business Expo in 2017. The event will encourage networking and exposure for black business owners among the community at large.

And finally, Sustainable Startups will focus on engaging more underrepresented communities, including women, minorities, and people living on low incomes with its flagship, 3-month entrepreneurship skills program.

“Our approach is to work with people at the very early stage of their business development plan. We help them explore it, and build it through learning organizational efficiency, data, testing the market and other essentials, and with minimum cost for the participants, said Ian Shelledy, Sustainable Startups Executive Director.

“We’re grateful we were selected for a grant,” he said. “It’s exciting to see Mayor Biskupski’s administration focus on business development and the part that start-ups play in the big picture of the local economy.”