Foundation For The Carolinas recently confirmed the beginning of grant application acceptance for Round 2 of Beyond Open, a diverse-owned small business grant program made possible by Wells Fargo’s Open For Business Fund. Interested small business owners can access Round 2 eligibility requirements, available grant amounts and allowed uses, a schedule of application information workshops, and a newly created Beyond Open Round 2 Application Guide at Applicants may complete and submit a Beyond Open Round 2 application  August 1-31.

This is the second installment of the very competitive grant program. The program expects to award approximately $5 million to more than 150 diverse-owned (minority, women, veteran, LGBTQ+ and persons with disabilities) small businesses in amounts from $10,000–$150,000 in Round 2. Beyond Open grants can be used to purchase capital assets including equipment, technology, real estate and inventory.

Beyond Open is centered on building economic mobility among diverse-owned small businesses in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, with a priority on areas within the six Corridors of Opportunity as identified by the City of Charlotte. These areas have been identified as historically under served and are the focus of increased investments from the public, private and philanthropic community sectors.

Small businesses must meet all eligibility requirements listed below to apply for and receive a Beyond Open Round 2 grant.

Eligibility includes:

  • Physically located within one of six Corridors of Opportunity as identified by the City of Charlotte, which are on and around the general regions of Beatties Ford and Rozelles Ferry, Central and Albemarle, Freedom and Wilkinson, Graham Street and North Tryon, Sugar Creek and I-85, and West Boulevard.
  • 1 – 200 employees.
  • In business for at least one year (since August 1, 2022).
  • Minimum $30,000 in annual revenue. Maximum $5 million in annual revenue. 
  • If a franchise, must be independent and locally owned
  • Nonprofits are ineligible in Round 2.

Beyond Open grants do not need to be repaid. Beyond Open grants cannot be used for operating expenses including payroll, utilities, advertising/marketing, consulting and debt repayment.

“We are grateful for the investment from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund that has made Beyond Open grant opportunities possible,” says Tracy Russ, Special Adviser for Civic Initiatives at FFTC. “In response to community input, Round 2 of Beyond Open emphasizes our commitment to historically under served communities within the Corridors of Opportunity. We seek to provide diverse small business owners with support that will help them create the strongest possible applications for Beyond Open [and] help prepare them for other small business grant and loan opportunities.”

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