Greater Whitehaven Economic Redevelopment Corporation announced the launch of its 2022 Small Business Exterior Improvement Grant Fund on Friday.
GWERC aims to revitalize Whitehaven by driving economic growth in the community through business, residential and community development.
The organization received funds from the Memphis City Council Community Grant Program to provide small businesses with the opportunity to make cosmetic renovations to storefronts.
The Small Business Exterior Improvement Grant offers up to $5,000 in funding and is open to owners of commercial properties in Whitehaven in these target areas:
Target Area 1: Winchester (Airways Boulevard to Elvis Presley Boulevard)
Target Area 2: Elvis Presley (Brooks Road to Raines Road)
Target Area 3: Elvis Presley (Raines Road to Scaife Road)
Target Area 4: Shelby Drive (Airways Boulevard to Boeingshire Road)
Target Area 5: Millbranch (Brooks Road to Holmes Road)
To qualify, applicants must also be able to front 20% of the amount requested.
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The fund is part of the Open in Whitehaven Initiative, which focuses on helping develop, sustain and incentivize new business growth in Whitehaven. The initiative has allowed the boom of 11 new businesses in just one year in Whitehaven.
Michael Harris, executive director of GWERC, said intentional investment in businesses will provide the foundation for residential and community development.
"If our goal is to revitalize the greater Whitehaven community, we must invest in supporting small business, medium business and large business like never before," Harris said. "We have to do our part to help businesses drive the community so that we can do the next steps, as well. People want to live where the shops are... But how do we create that appetite? My firm belief that creating that appetite is going to come from investing in our businesses."
GWERC suggests qualifying projects may use the funds with other assistance programs including the Inner-City Economic Development loans from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County Loan program, which offers three-year, forgivable loans of up to $25,000 to assist with façade and other building improvements.
Business owners in Whitehaven interested in applying for the Small Business Exterior Improvement Grant can email email@example.com for an application. Applications will be accepted between Jan. 24-Feb. 24 at 11:59 p.m.
Astrid Kayembe covers South Memphis, Whitehaven and Westwood. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (901) 304-7929 or on Twitter @astridkayembe_.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Whitehaven development: GWERC launches small business grant fund