We believe in Community Building through Economic Development.
Grant Portal for the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation:
- You will need to create a free Submittable account in order to apply for any of our programs.
- You can save a draft of your work if you would like to finish filling out the form at a later date.
- We will follow-up with you about your submission by email. Please be sure the email address you used to sign up for your Submittable Account is one that you check regularly.
- Please reach out to Submittable's Customer Support team with any technical questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you need to contact our office, please visit us at 500 East Saint Charles Street, Brownsville, Texas or by phone at (956) 545-0353.
Our BIG 1.0 & BIG 2.0 Grant Programs goals include: (1) Encourage property investment that directly relates to improving the aesthetics of building and places in Downtown Brownsville; (2) Expand business and employment opportunities in existing and deteriorated structures; (3) Enhance the visitors experience at our downtown attractions; (4) Help new and existing businesses succeed by enhancing their curb appeal; and Increase commercial property values.
RENT SUBSIDY GRANT: Maximum grant amount $12,000 for restaurants, coffee shops, bars, entertainment, galleries, retail including upscale apparel, accessories, footwear, jewelry, electronics, artisan shops, and specialty retail.
The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) is providing rental assistance for up to 12 months for eligible businesses that choose to locate in the BIG 1.0 & BIG 2.0 Historic Brownsville Area. Additionally, BCIC may provide assistance for existing businesses to expand their gross rentable space. In every case, the Board reserves the right to deny Applicants at its sole discretion. Funding is subject to availability of resources and to the applicant business’s potential to strengthen, compliment and diversify the existing business makeup, as determined solely at the discretion of the BCIC Board. Any eligible business may apply for assistance and grants, but those falling into the following categories may be given greater consideration.
• Restaurants, coffee shops, specialty food & entertainment
• Artisan shops
• Upscale apparel/accessories, footwear
• Electronics – computers, phones, digital equipment
• Specialty retail: toys, sporting goods, transportation
• Home furnishings and appliances
• Visual and performing arts, galleries
Applicants that ineligible to apply:
- Businesses that are sharing space with other business tenants e.g. co-share workspace, malls, flea markets.
Businesses are eligible to apply if the business has its own physical address that is not shared with other businesses.
For a new business: Applicants are required to submit a completed application form, a copy of an executed lease between the applicant and property owner with a minimum of a two-year lease, a business plan and a proposed budget, financials and marketing plan.
For the expansion or relocation of an existing business: Applicants are required to submit a completed application form, a copy of an executed lease between the applicant and property owner with a minimum of a two-year lease, and a profit and loss statement for the past two years.
Rental assistance application for a business not related or similar to the existing business is required to submit a full, new business application package.
We encourage you to read the guidelines thoroughly and contact Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) to set up an appointment to discuss your project and grant process.
WE WILL BE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR BIG 2.0 TILL OCTOBER 11, 2021 AT 3:00 PM.
BEFORE YOU APPLY
* Applications will be placed on hold if the applicant has not first discussed the project with BCIC staff.
* Applicants are eligible to apply for this grant opportunity when the necessary documents to receive a city permit to begin the project has been submitted to city's building permits or will be submitted within 7-10 days after applying for the grant.
* Visit our boundary map to see what corridor your business is eligible for.
The Business Improvement and Growth (“BIG”) Program 2.0 provides financial support to commercial property owners, eligible businesses and developers to improve existing buildings for expansion and site activation. We know that by enhancing the exterior and interior of the buildings, properties increase in value, maintain their marketability, and demonstrate market confidence in order to revitalize downtown.
The BIG Program 2.0 offers three (3) different financial reimbursement grants to businesses, property owners, and developers that would like to expand their existing operations, relocate, activate buildings (“site readiness”), or support the diversification of downtown’s experience through quality-of-life improvements such as entertainment and cultural venues within the district. The BIG 2.0 program will accomplish such objectives through the following grants:
- (A) Ground Floor Property Improvements Grant - - up to $80,000 max with a 80/20 match. Improvements are for street level improvements including exterior and interior improvements for a vacant building, underutilized building, or expansion of existing business operations (increasing square footage).
- (B) Property Improvements with Vertical Activation Grant -- up to $200,000 max with a 80/20 match. This grant’s intent is to activate the upper floors or basement that are currently vacant for the purpose to host a new commercial businesses or housing.
- (C) Downtown Brownsville Rent Subsidy Grant - - up to $12,000 rental assistance for new commercial business tenants moving into Downtown Brownsville for one year.
Please visit our website for further details on the grant guidelines and eligible costs.
BIG 2.0 outcome goals are to:
- Foster and attract commercial growth in Downtown Brownsville;
- Generate tangible economic benefits by increasing sales revenues for downtown businesses;
- Encourage property activations through rehabilitation and revitalization of real estate within Downtown Brownsville;
- Grow business and employment opportunities in existing and deteriorated structures;
- Enhance visitor experience in Downtown Brownsville;
- Help new and existing businesses succeed by enhancing their curb appeal; and
- Increase residential and commercial use in Downtown Brownsville to improve urban density.
We encourage you to read the guidelines on BIG 2.0 webpage thoroughly and contact Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) to set up an appointment to discuss your project and grant process. It is required that the project has a minimum of 50% (more will be favorable) of unencumbered, unrestricted, and committed funds to the total project cost.
Documents that are needed to be uploaded with the application:
- Itemized Project Budget that shows what expenses will go towards the grant request and the applicants costs
- Current Vendors Cost Estimates Quotes for the improvements
- Current Photos
- Historic Photos (if applicable)
- Conceptional Design or Drawing of the project
- Proof of Ownership or a minimum of a 2 Year Lease
- Financial Documentation to show that the project has a minimum of 50% (more is preferable) of unencumbered, unrestricted and committed funds to the total project cost.
Acceptable documents are: A letter from the applicant’s banking institute that validates amount of funds available. Preferred; Financial statements and/or bank statements (the most recent three (3) months). Preferred; or A signed letter from the applicant stating the amount of funds available and dedicated to the project.
- Business Plan and One Year Proforma for new businesses that will be occupying the space.
To make your application a strong candidate, it is advised to include if the property has already signed a lease or in final negotiations, the length of the lease, the type of business and customers, how many jobs will be created from the business, how the improvements will expand business operations and attract customers to the area,
How the Program Works:
Director of Community Development reviews and presents funding recommendations monthly to the BCIC Board for approval. Recommendation are based on the following criteria:
- Activates and improves a vacant building or portion of a building;
- Ability to aesthetically transform the building; long-term durability and sustainability of the improvements;
- Building’s level of blight and/or risk of deterioration;
- Potential to attract additional businesses;
- Improvements will expand business operations;
- Project will attract "first to market" businesses to downtown, creates primary jobs;
- Business creates or enhances the downtown area;
- Improvements will meet the identified needs for the community;
- Applicant has a minimum of 50% of unencumbered, unrestricted and committed funds to the total project cost; and
- Leveraging of additional economic activities.
REIMBURSEMENT GRANT AGREEMENT
In the event, the Application has received final BCIC Board approval, a Commitment Letter will be issued to the Applicant stating the amount of approved grant funds allocated to the proposed project, the establishment of a commitment period for completion of the project and information regarding the execution of the required Reimbursement Grant Agreement (The Agreement) between the Applicant, now referred to as the “Contractor” (individual or entity responsible for payment of the project improvement expenses), and the BCIC. The Agreement will have been prepared and will accompany the Commitment Letter. The project’s information and specifics and the terms and conditions of the Contractor’s obligations for receipt of grant funds are outlined in the Agreement.
Reimbursement request may be submitted quarterly, after the minimum of the 20% of the match has been met. 20% of funds will be withhold till the project has been completed and a final report has been submitted.
Through the StartUp Texas program, the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) and the City of Brownsville’s Planning and Redevelopment Department are partnering together to launch the Brownsville (Re)Open for Business Forgivable Loan Program. The Brownsville (Re)Open for Business Forgivable Loan Program is designed to provide financial relief needed to strengthen our local small business enterprises that are enduring hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This loan program is a short-term 0% interest forgivable loan program up to $10,000 to assist businesses with up to fifty (50) employees at the time of application, or up to five (5) employees (including owner) with low to moderate income owner. The business must demonstrate a loss of gross revenue of 15 % or more in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to be considered for funding. The loan program is to assist in operations of the business including payroll, inventory and working capital.
We are accepting a limited number of applications. Applications will be accepted from September 13, 2021, at 8:00 AM through November 1, 2021, at 12:00 PM or when the max number of applications have been received; whichever comes first. Due to the anticipated number of submissions, applications will be review and evaluated on eligibility and based on the number of eligible applicants and limited funding, applications may be chosen via a lottery system. Potential applicants must register for a DUNS number (https://www.dnb.com/duns-number/get-a-duns.html) and create an account on SAM.gov (https://www.sam.gov/SAM/) (HUD requirement to receive funds) as soon as possible.
PLEASE READ OUR POLICIES AND PROCEDURES BEFORE APPLYING!
The eBridge Fund program is designed to provide a more attainable option for businesses who are otherwise unable to obtain conventional bank financing or need a more competitive rate in comparison to current market rates. The objective of the eBridge Fund is to serve as an economic development tool to encourage business retention and expansion, relocation of businesses to Cameron County as well as assisting new start-ups that in return will retain and/or create employment opportunities and stimulate investment in the community.
MAKE SURE TO READ OUR GUIDELINES BEFORE APPLYING.
Be part of Brownsville's primary engine for economic development. On the border by the sea, and beyond. Please fill out the application below, upload your resume and cover letter.
Guidelines & Job Description Linked here.