Province Partners With Manitoba Chambers Of Commerce To Fund Downtown Building Business Program

Jul 18, 2022 | COVID Programs, Front Page, Government News

$2.5 Million in Post-Pandemic Relief and Recovery Funds Allocated in Support of Downtown Winnipeg Recovery Efforts

The Manitoba government is partnering with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) to fund the Downtown Building Business Program, which will help businesses in downtown in their recovery efforts from the pandemic, Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.

“A strong and vibrant downtown Winnipeg means new jobs will be created as new and existing businesses open or relocate to the area, supporting our province’s economic recovery from the pandemic,” said Cullen. “This investment will provide funding for creative ideas that will help make downtown an attractive place to live, work and play, every day.”

The $2.5-million Building Business Fund will be delivered and administered by the Downtown Action Team in conjunction with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, with the Manitoba government providing the funding as part of the $50-million Pandemic Long-Term Recovery Fund.

“The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce is proud to recommend funding and work with the Downtown Action Team in executing on this critical proposal, and to continue upholding a commitment to accelerating downtown revitalization,” said Chuck Davidson, president and CEO, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. “This fund will create and maintain jobs, support existing businesses and attract new businesses to support downtown growth.”

The Downtown Building Business Program includes three funding streams:

  • Business Improvement Grants, which will support existing businesses through space improvements and business development. Grants may include, but are not limited to: digitization support, business strategy development, exterior and interior updates and repairs, technology improvements, marketing and advertising and human resource support. Twenty per cent of grants will be allocated for BIPOC-owned businesses and 20 per cent will be allocated for woman-owned businesses.
  • Ground Floor Incubation Strategy and Program, which will mentor and connect emerging entrepreneurs with empty downtown storefront locations and support them to redress dilapidated storefronts.
  • ‘Support Downtown’ marketing campaign, which will focus on economic development, business attraction and supporting local.

“The pandemic has acutely affected Winnipeg’s downtown and although recovery is happening, downtown is taking longer to recover than other neighbourhoods. Overcoming the impact requires immediate and long-term commitment, visionary leadership, and collective action,” said Kate Fenske, CEO, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “The Building Business Program will support the business owners who are integral to our downtown’s vibrancy and unique character and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to create new experiences for people who live, shop and explore downtown.”

The Downtown Action Team is comprised of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, Exchange District BIZ, West End BIZ, City of Winnipeg, CentreVenture, Economic Development Winnipeg, Downtown Community Safety Partnership, End Homelessness Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Arts Council.

Applications for the Business Improvement Grant and the Ground Floor Incubation programs will open later this summer. More information can be found on the Downtown Recovery Strategy website.

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