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Program Guidelines, Eligibility, and Criteria

 Program Overview

 The Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District created the SEED Business Grant to help businesses with operating equipment, interior enhancements, selected improvements, and professional services. (the “Grant”). The program provides funding of up to $5,000 to eligible businesses. The Grant works to assist those business owners to promote reinvestment, strengthen Fort Wayne’s commercial activity, and enhance economic vitality in the SEED District.

 Program Objectives:
 ·  Maintain vibrancy by encouraging investments that enhance the operation of commercial properties and lead to increased property values within the SEED District.
 ·  Stimulate economic development by providing incentives to increase existing business investment, ensure business sustainability, and create aesthetically pleasing areas that attract new businesses and consumers within the SEED District.
 ·  Complement other revitalization efforts to ensure the maximum leverage of resources within the SEED District
 ·  Support local businesses and encourage local entrepreneurship, to further enhance the spirit of Fort Wayne and the SEED District.
 Program Guidelines
 Grant Amount Available:
 · The Grant Program provides up to $5,000 per calendar year eligible as reimbursement or direct vendor pay to eligible SEED District Businesses.
 · Each building on a parcel and each business in a multi-tenant commercial building is permitted to qualify as a separate project and apply for an individual Grant. Multiple applicants in one building or parcel of land do not have to apply as one entity.
 · A business can receive one award per 12-month calendar year. Businesses are limited to $5,000 per
 business over five (5) years.

 Legal/City Compliance:
 · An applicant must be current on its property taxes at the time of submission.
 · If required, applicants are responsible for obtaining all necessary local, state, and/or federal permits.
 · All Grants must comply with all SEED Business Grant guidelines, local zoning ordinances, sign ordinances, building codes, and any other applicable local, state, and federal laws and ordinances.
 · Projects that seek to improve properties with current Neighborhood Code Compliance (NCC) violations must get NCC closure before consideration for Grant eligibility.

 Eligible Projects and Businesses
 Eligible Applicants
 · Businesses must be domiciled within the 7 square miles of the Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (See online map-https://www.fwcommunitydevelopment.org/seed-map)
 · Mobile businesses are not eligible for the SEED Business Grant unless they can prove that more than 50% of their revenue is derived from SEED District Business Activities and they are domiciled in the SEED District
 · Businesses must have commercial activity as their primary purpose such as retail and specialty stores, services, restaurants, cultural venues, professional offices, and manufacturing
 business/industrial use.
 · Mixed-use buildings are eligible if the ground floor is predominately used for commercial activity. Properties used primarily for residential purposes, including assisted living centers, ARE NOT ELIGIBLE
 · Not-for-profits are eligible as long as they include commercial uses and services.
 · Businesses operating in the Enterprise Center are not eligible for the SEED Business Grant
 · Businesses that operate virtually must be domiciled in the SEED District

Examples of Eligible Projects
 • Salon/barber chairs, inside furniture (related to business activities)
 • Inside window coverings (as they relate to business activities)
 • Removeable real property such as specialty equipment, shipping tools, printer, shredder
 • Point of sale machines
 • Light Fixtures
 • Legal/Accounting/Marketing Services

 Examples of Ineligible Projects
 · New Construction
 · Primarily residential properties, including assisted living centers
 · Businesses operating from the Enterprise Center
 · Improvements started before receiving a signed Grant Agreement with the City
 · LED signs (due to the complexity of regulating and enforcing the signs, grant funds cannot be used)
 ·  Projects located on illegally obtained or used property per the City’s Zoning Ordinance or any use not approved by the City’s Planning Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals
 · The businesses listed below unless established at their site before January 1, 2008 (must prove):
 o Tobacco discount stores
 o Pawn Shops
 o Automotive Sales
 o Check Cashing Stores
 o Gun Stores
 o Sexually oriented businesses
 o Tattoo and/or body piercing
 o Liquor stores
 ·  Any faith-based organization whose building(s) are used for religious activities such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization
 · Any site, building, or use that does not meet eligibility criteria
The Director of Community Development may change eligible improvements if located within the Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (SEED)

 Program Criteria
 Evaluation Criteria: Applicants will be evaluated on the following criteria:
 · Job Creation
 · The proposed project’s ability to transform business activities
 · The impact the proposed improvements will make on the corridor
 · The long-term durability and sustainability of the improvements and business

Suspension or Termination of Grant/Repayment of Grant
 a. The SEED may reserve the right to suspend the payment of the Grant if the receiving business becomes insolvent, goes into bankruptcy, receivership, or liquidation; becomes legally ineligible to hold the Grant; moves its domicile outside of the grant district; if the project for which the Grant was awarded has not been completed in a timely fashion as defined herein; and/or if the funds have not been spent by the terms agreed upon with the SEED.
 b. The SEED may demand repayment of Grant funds if the Grant recipient breaches this Grant Agreement; moves its domicile outside of the grant district; if the project for which the Grant was awarded has not been completed in a timely fashion as defined herein; and/or if the funds have not been spent by the terms agreed upon with the SEED.

Submission Guidelines, Approval, and Timeline
 1. Submit an application.
 a. Submit the completed application and supporting documents. Failure to submit mandatory documents will delay the approval/review process.
 b. Supporting documents may include but are not limited to a detailed scope of the proposed project, pictures, and two cost estimates on the same scope of work (exception for murals only to retain artist design). If there is a delay in approval/review, see guideline item 3. g.
 Applications can be submitted at any date and submitted by the owner or tenant of a business. If the applicant is not the owner of the building, the legal owner must give written consent on the application. Tenants must also include a copy of their lease terms.
 2. Application Review and Approval
 a. All projects receiving a financial award must comply with the SEED Business Grant Guidelines.
 b. If modifications are accepted by the applicant, they will be required to resubmit the scope and bids to reflect the changes.
 c. After a thorough review of the application and supporting documents, that include all changes, the Grant Administrator must approve the final scope and cost estimates.
 3. SEED Business Grant Guidelines
 a. The approved amount will be based on the lesser of two quotes submitted by the applicant. The applicant may select the higher bid but must pay 100% of the cost difference.
 b. The operating equipment must be removable
 c. Funds spent on the project’s improvements before the Finance Agreement is signed by both parties are not eligible for reimbursement.
 d. The Grants Administrator may approve a project to be divided into a maximum of three (3) phases. If requested, the scope of work, bid sheet, or other documentation must show which items are in each phase. Phasing allows the applicant to request/receive reimbursement after each phase is completed, invoiced, and paid for by the applicant.
 e. The Grant Administrator must approve any scope/financial changes after the Finance Agreement is signed.
 f. The Director of Community Development has the right to revoke the award if key elements of the project are deleted or violate program guidelines, the law, etc.
 g. If the business is not ready to proceed with a Finance Agreement due to continued planning, financial needs, etc., the Director of Community Development can issue a commitment letter agreeing to hold back the funds until both the SEED and Applicant agree on the project, funding, and other key elements.

 4. Project Completion and Reimbursement

a. Projects must be completed within 90 days of the Grant Agreement date to qualify.

b. Contact the Grant Administrator after the project is completed.

c. The Grant Administrator will review the project to ensure that the scope, bid form, and Financial Agreement are completed properly.

d. For payment, the applicant must submit copies of all invoices to nikeshia.fomby@cityoffortwayne.org

The Director of Community Development reserves the right to make changes/exceptions as needed.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.