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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, interior enhancements, service expansion, and professional services. 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 enhance economic vitality in the City’s heart.

Program Objectives:

  • Maintain vibrancy of core commercial areas by encouraging investments that enhance the operation of commercial properties and lead to increased property values.
  • Stimulate economic development by providing incentives to increase existing business investment, ensure business sustainability and create aesthetically pleasing areas that attract new business and consumers.
  • Complement other revitalization efforts to ensure the maximum leverage of resources.
  • Support local businesses and encourage local entrepreneurship, to further enhance the spirit of Fort Wayne

Program Guidelines

Grant Amount Available:

  • The Grant Program provides up to $5,000 per calendar year eligible as reimbursement or direct vendor pay.
  • 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 1 (one) award per 12-month calendar year but is limited to $5,000 per property over five years. 

Eligible Projects and Businesses

Eligible Applicants

  • Businesses must be located within the 7 square miles of the Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (See online map-https://www.fwcommunitydevelopment.org/seed-map).

  • Businesses must-have commercial activity as their primary purpose such as retail and specialty stores, services, restaurants, bars, cultural venues, professional offices, and manufacturing business/industrial use. Mobile businesses such as food trucks are permittable, but the entity must be established in the Enterprise Zone.

  • 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.

Program Criteria

 Evaluation Criteria: Applicants will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Whether the project activates a vacant building or a portion of a building.

  • 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.

  • Whether the business creates or enhances “local flavor” in the area.

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.


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