As an effort to create increased vibrancy in the Central Business District, The Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce Foundation is administering the Downtown Micro Business Grant Program.
Eligible businesses include, but are not limited to: startup companies and small businesses independently owned and operated (not a franchise location), doing business in the Central Business District of Waterbury.
Preference will be given to restaurants, food and beverage shops, professional service businesses, gift shops, clothing and footwear stores, and for-profit entities. Priority will also be given to minority, women, disabled, and veteran-owned businesses.
Business must be owned by a person who is at least 18 years old.
Existing businesses must not have more than 20 employees (includes full and part time) and be in good financial standing with the City of Waterbury and Department of Revenue Services; have no Covid violations; have an established business checking account; and utilize a formal digital bookkeeping/ accounting system (such as Quickbooks, FreshBooks, Zoho Books, etc)
Startup business must have a signed, minimum two-year lease in the Central Business District to apply.
All grantees must comply with the City of Waterbury’s land use regulations and the Plan of Conservation and Development.
Guidelines: Businesses that receive funding are encouraged to participate in support services from one or more of the following organizations: Small Business Development Center (SBDC); Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC); SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives); Waterbury Regional Chamber; and/or other approved business resource programs to support the growth of the business.
Applicable use of funds include:
Furniture & Fixtures
Interior Upgrades (paint, wallpaper, flooring)
Window Treatments / Blinds
Public Art Displays
Marketing / Advertising (website design and development, e-commerce platform to sell online, marketing consultants, setup of social media platforms)
Outdoor Restaurant Furniture
50% of payroll costs up to $10,000 (excluding owner earnings)
Equipment / Machinery*
Grants are capped at $25,000 with the exception of grants for heavy equipment and machinery which are capped at $100,000.
All improvements must be compatible with applicable zoning codes, satisfy permit requirements, and conform to any other regulatory restrictions.
*Grants for heavy equipment and machinery will be considered to sustain long-term viability of the business.
A processing fee of $250 is assessed for each grant up to $15,000 and $500 for grants over $15,001. Fees are due when the grant agreement is executed and may not be payable from grant funds.
Grant funds will be paid to reimburse expenses paid by the Grantee once proof of payment has been submitted. Purchases will require quotes and reimbursement will be made for the provider with the lowest cost. Please note that funds will expire one year from the Grant Agreement execution date.
Grantees are responsible for refunding 50% of the money received if the business is not operational for one year from receipt of grant funds.
The online application process includes the submission of the following:
A business plan (existing and startup business)
State of Connecticut Certificate of Legal Existence (Good Standing)
Details of how the funds will be used (existing and startup business)
An annual budget for the business (existing)
Copies of tax returns, including payroll tax returns, for two years (2021 and 2022) (existing)
Signed two-year lease (startup)
IRS W-9 form (existing and startup business)
Completed Disclosure and Certification Affidavit
Tax clearance from the City of Waterbury’s Tax Office from any past due property, water/sewer taxes, and any unpaid parking tickets.
Application and Review Process
Applications will open February 15, 2024
Each applicant will receive confirmation of application receipt within 5 days of submission.
Oversight and approval committee will meet monthly to review and award grants on a rolling basis.
Applicants will be notified in 30-45 days on the status of their grant application and request.