The Downtown Development Board (DDB) and Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) can assist with matching up available incentives to your business. Together with the Mayor’s Business Assistance Team, we can inform you about any assistance available through the State, City, or the DDB/CRA. It is our goal to see our business community succeed! To learn more about these programs, please contact Mercedes Blanca at 407.246.3625, or by email at Mercedes.Blanca@downtownorlando.com.
The Minority/Women Entrepreneur Business Assistance (MEBA) Program is a small business assistance program that was established to retain existing minority-owned businesses located within the Target Area, and to attract new minority-owned businesses to this area. The MEBA Program Target Area is generally described as the Parramore area of Downtown, more specifically described as the area bounded on the north by West Colonial Drive, on the west by South Westmoreland Drive, on the south by West Gore Street, and on the east by Interstate-4.
The MEBA Program can provide qualified new and existing businesses (retail and services) within the Target Area with both non-monetary and financial assistance for the following purposes:
- Business start-up or retention/relocation expenses
- Purchase of capital equipment
- Capital improvements
- Marketing support
To qualify for the MEBA program, each applicant must be a minority or woman and the majority owner of a for-profit new or expanding small business, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration with no more than twenty (20) employees, located within the Target Area.
Please note: Submittal of an application does not guarantee funding assistance. Funding is awarded through a competitive process and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Funding is structured as a three-year forgivable loan, and disbursements are made to grantees on a reimbursement basis only. Applicants who have received other business assistance grants from the CRA or City of Orlando (with the exception of facade grants) are not eligible for the MEBA Program. There are additional requirements of this program that must be met. Please refer to the MEBA Program Guidelines for all rules and requirements.
The Downtown Facade & Building Stabilization Program can provide grants valued between $5,000 and $40,000 for improvements to buildings made within the Downtown Orlando CRA. Building appearance plays an important role in creating the image of Downtown. Funding for building façade and/or building stabilization improvements made to properties will encourage reuse of vacant or underutilized properties, improve appearance, and support the long-term viability of Downtown Orlando. Over time, the taxable valuation of the improved properties will increase, thus increasing the amount of funds available to revitalize Downtown Orlando.
- Buildings must be located within the Downtown CRA. Downtown Façade and Building Stabilization Program Grants shall only be awarded for properties that contribute to the CRA through the payment of ad valorem taxes.
- Single-Family and Duplex Residential Buildings: Buildings used for Single-family and duplex residential purposes and located within the Uptown, Eola, and Central Business District Planning Areas of the CRA shall be eligible for up to $5,000 or 50%, whichever is less, of the cost of façade improvements. Single-family and duplex residential buildings located within the Parramore Heritage Planning Area of the CRA shall be eligible for up to $10,000 or 50%, whichever is less, of the cost of building stabilization improvements, or a combination of building stabilization and façade improvements. Projects that propose only façade improvements shall be eligible for funding for up to $5,000 or 50%, whichever is less, of the cost of the improvements.
- All Other Buildings: Buildings located within the Uptown, Eola, and Central Business District Planning Areas of the CRA shall be eligible for $20,000 or 50%, whichever is less, of the cost of façade improvements. Buildings located within the Parramore Heritage Planning Area of the CRA shall be eligible for up to $40,000 or 50%, whichever is less, of the cost of building stabilization improvements, or a combination of building stabilization and façade improvements. Projects that propose only façade improvements shall be eligible for funding for up to $20,000 or 50%, whichever is less, of the cost of the improvements.
- Only one (1) Grant per property owner or tenant per fiscal year, and only one (1) Grant per property per three-year program term. When an entity owns multiple properties that are adjacent, the Grant funding may be shared between these properties for a unified improvement plan. When an entity owns multiple properties that are not adjacent, only one (1) property may receive Program funding in that particular fiscal year.
- All proposed improvements must meet the requirements of the Appearance Review Board (ARB) or, if a landmark property or located within an historic preservation district, the Historic Preservation Board (HPB), if applicable, as well as all other City Code requirements. Approvals or Certificates issued by the ARB or HPB do not guarantee approval of a Downtown Façade & Building Stabilization Grant.
- The Façade Grant Review Committee shall evaluate applications.
In an ongoing effort to support our City's small businesses, Mayor Dyer and the Orlando City Council have waived the collection of change-in-use transportation impact fees for small businesses for a period of one year (expires April 25, 2012). For more information, please visit: http://www.cityoforlando.net/economic/impactfee.htm
For a comprehensive list of incentive programs available through the City of Orlando and State of Florida, please visit: http://www.cityoforlando.net/economic/business/BUS_incentiveprogs.htm