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Program Overview

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

Program Objectives:

  • Maintain vibrancy of core commercial areas 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 a period of five (5) years.

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 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.
  • Not-for-profits are eligible as long as they include commercial uses and services.

Examples of Eligible Projects:

  • Salon/barber chairs, inside furniture (related to business activities)
  • Inside window coverings (as they relate to business activities)
  • Removable 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):
  • Tobacco discount stores
  • Pawn ShopsoAutomotive Sales
  • Check Cashing Stores
  • Gun Stores
  • Sexually oriented businesses
  • Tattoo and/or body piercing
  • 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

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

Submission Guidelines, Approval, and Timeline

 1. Submit an application

       a. Download the grant guidelines and application by using the links below:
           Guidelines and Applications

       b. Submit the completed application and supporting documents.

Please return completed applications with all required documentation to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. using SEED Business Grant in the subject line. 

2. Application Review and Approval

       a. All projects receiving a financial award must comply with the SEED Business Grant Guidelines. 

3. 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.

       d. For payment, the applicant must submit copies of all invoices.
Application to SEED Business Grant does not guarantee approval for funding. 

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