Charleston Women/Minority Business Grant

Grant Guidelines
Pilot Grant Program for Charleston, WV
Women and Minority-Owned Small Businesses 2021

Goal:  The goal of the Pilot 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 mentoring, training and low rent office space. The program is in partnership with the City of Charleston Mayor’s Office, Charleston Community Participation Grant Program, Truist Financial Corporation, Verizon Economic Development Fund and individual contributions. 

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 $1 million; and
  • Small business is located within city limits of Charleston, WV; and
  • Been in existence for a minimum of one year.

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 staffing
  • 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

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, grantee will be required to show the following:  The increase in net income divided by the grant amount = ROI

Program Governance

  • The Pilot Program is overseen by an Advisory Council comprised of representatives from various community and economic development organizations, the City of Charleston, the Charleston Area Alliance/CADCO Foundation, and successful women and minority small business owners.
  • The Charleston Area Alliance/CADCO Foundation will disperse and manage the grant program.  The Alliance will also work in partnership with various economic and community development partners to provide access to mentors, training, and low rent office space.
  • 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 18 months from receipt of grant funds.
  • All grantees will be required to sign a letter of agreement with Charleston Area Alliance summarizing amount of grant, outcomes and date of final report submission. 

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 length of time in business) such as Profit/Loss statements.

Pilot Grant Timeline

Application link opens Friday, October 1, 2021

Application link closes Friday, October 29, 2021 at 4:00 pm