Charleston Women and Minority-Owned Small Business Grant Application

Please make sure you read the instructions for each question carefully and understand the application guidelines as outlined below.

Grant Guidelines

Grant Program for Charleston, WV Women and Minority-Owned Small Businesses

Goal:  The goal of the Grant Program for Women and Minority-Owned Small Businesses is to help existing women and/or minority-owned small businesses located within the city limits of Charleston to expand by increasing profitability. This will be achieved through mini-grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000, and providing access to training and resources.  Funding is provided by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the City of Charleston, WV. There will be one round of grants distributed in 2023, 2024, and 2025.

Eligible Applicants:  Must meet all criteria:

·         At least 51% of the for-profit business owned by a woman or person of color; and

·         Small business with annual gross revenues under $500,000; and

·         Small business is located within city limits of Charleston, WV; and

·   Small business operates out of commercial space located in the City of Charleston; and

·         Been in existence for a minimum of one year.

Please note that previous Women and Minority-Owned Small Business grant recipients are not eligible to apply.

Eligible Use of Funds:

·         The grants can be used for projects that can show a return on the investment that is double the size of the grant. 

·         Grant funds may be used for expansion, such as:

–          Additional equipment

–          Additional inventory

–          Additional permanent working capital needed to support growth

·         Grant funds may be used to increase profitability, such as:

–          Investments that increase sales, and/or

–          Investments that decrease expenses

·         Grant funds may NOT be used for:

–          Payment of delinquent taxes

–          Retiring existing debt and liabilities

–          Rolling stock

–          Staffing

Measurement of return on investment:

·         The return on the investment (ROI) will be measured by an increase in profitability. The grant funds may be used in such a way as determined by the business that will at least double sales and efficiencies.

·         At the end of the agreed-upon grant period, the grantee will be required to show the following:  The increase in net income divided by the grant amount = ROI

Program Governance:

·         The Grant Program is managed by the Charleston Area Alliance with the valuable input from an Advisory Council comprised of representatives from various community and economic development organizations, Charleston Area Alliance, and successful women and minority small business owners.

·         The Charleston Area Alliance will work in partnership with various economic and community development partners to provide access to training and resources for the grantees.

·         The approval of the grants will be wholly vested with the Advisory Council who will determine the eligibility of the grant applications and the readiness of the applicant to receive funding.  

·         The general grant timeline is up to 12 months from receipt of grant funds.

·         All grantees will be required to sign a letter of agreement with Charleston Area Alliance summarizing the amount of grant, outcomes, and date of final report submission. 

·         Should the grantee sell the business or cease operations of the business prior to the completion of the grant agreement, all grant funds must be repaid to Charleston Area Alliance.

All applicants must provide:

·         A completed application including but not limited to;

·         Certificate of good standing & a current business license from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office

·         A brief history of the business

·         A description of the business’s products or services

·         A description of the business’s target market and current strategies to reach the target market

·         An explanation of the business’s competitive advantage and what makes it special

·         How the Program components will enhance current strategies to reach target markets and how this will double the size of the grant in returns

·         Historical Financial Information (1-3 years depending on the length of time in business) such as annual Profit/Loss Statements.

For additional information or assistance with accessing the grant form, please contact Susie Salisbury, VP Community Development, Charleston Area Alliance at 304-340-4253 or through email at