Share this Article:

The SEED Business Grant Program 2024 – Now Accepting Application

The program provides funding of up to $5,000 to eligible businesses.

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 program provides funding of up to $5,000 to eligible businesses. The Grant assists those business owners to promote reinvestment, strengthen Fort Wayne’s commercial activity, and enhance economic vitality in the SEED District.

Program 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 have on the corridor.
  • The long-term durability and sustainability of the improvements and businesses
Nikeshia Fomby (SEED) and grant recipient

Program Guidelines

  • 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 a period of five (5) years.

Eligible Projects and Businesses

  • Businesses must be domiciled within the 7 square miles of the Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (See online 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 that 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.
  • 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.
  • Not-for-profits are eligible as long as they include commercial uses and services.

Submission Guidelines, Approval, and Timeline

All projects receiving a financial award must comply with the SEED Business Grant Guidelines. The Director of Community Development reserves the right to make changes/exceptions as needed.”

See Submission Guideline Details
  1. Submit an application.
    • Submit the completed application and supporting documents. Failure to submit mandatory documents will delay the approval/review process.
    • 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
    • All projects receiving a financial award must comply with the SEED Business Grant Guidelines.
    • If modifications are accepted by the applicant, they will be required to resubmit the scope and bids to reflect the changes.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • The operating equipment must be removable
    • Funds spent on the project’s improvements before the Finance Agreement is signed by both parties are not eligible for reimbursement.
    • 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.
    • The Grant Administrator must approve any scope/financial changes after the Finance Agreement is signed.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • Projects must be completed within 90 days of the Grant Agreement date to qualify.
    • Contact the Grant Administrator after the project is completed.
    • The Grant Administrator will review the project to ensure that the scope, bid form, and Financial Agreement are completed properly.
    • For payment, the applicant must submit copies of all invoices to

Review grant guidelines for eligibility – Guidelines 

Application to SEED Business Grant does not guarantee approval for funding. 

For all SEED Business Grant-related inquiries please email subject line SEED Business Grant. NO phone calls or walk-ins will be accepted.