Grant assistance 

  • $5,000 maximum grant award for businesses with 2-10 employees (who receive W2s)
  • $2,000 maximum grant award for businesses without employees

The City’s grant funds may be used for one-time expenses such as office set up expenses, storefront signage, new inventory, computer hardware, software, and services such as accounting, legal, and website development expenses. Past expenses, monthly expenses, and debt already incurred are not eligible. The applicant has up to six months to incur a report on grant expenditure.

Grant eligibility 

Businesses with a TSB certification will be given priority in the grant evaluation. TSB certification is designed to help women, individuals with minority status, service-connected disabled veterans, and individuals with disabilities overcome some of the hurdles to start or grow a small business in Iowa and offers many additional benefits. The TSB program requires that at least 51% of the ownership of the business be held by individuals that are women, individuals with minority status, individuals with disabilities, or service-disabled veterans. Find out more about the benefits and becoming a TSB at Iowa Economic Development's website. 

Other requirements: Must have a business location in Iowa City’s corporate limits. If home-based, the home must be in Iowa City.  Must be a for-profit business. (You may be asked for last year’s financial report and/or future projected financials.)

The following business types are specifically ineligible for assistance:

  • A business in which an Iowa City employee or officer (member of City Council or any Iowa City government board or commission), or any member of their respective immediate families (who include, whether by blood, marriage, or adoption, the spouse, parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, grandparent, grandchild, and in-laws), is an owner of 5% or more of the business.
  • Independent contractors who provide service to a single entity such as Chomp or Uber.
  • Corporately owned national or regional chains are not eligible. Locally owned franchises or chain businesses are eligible.

How to apply 

  1. Fill out the form at our website. 
  2. Upload cost estimate or quote for grant-funded expenses on the application.
  3. Upload TSB certificate, if applicable on the application.

City Government