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24 businesses receive $2.8 million from SPACE Grant program

The first round of grant recipients will receive $2.8 million to support their businesses needs over the next three years and drive traffic to major neighborhoods, like Downtown Boston.

Looking up at the buildings in downtown Boston.

The SPACE program aims to help local businesses expand and move into vacant storefronts.

Photo by @mahernandezg

The recipients of the first round of grants from the SPACE Program grantees have been announced. Two dozen small businesses will receive $2,830,000 to bring more foot traffic into Boston’s neighborhoods, revitalize downtown, and close the racial wealth gap.

Short for Supporting Pandemic Affected Community Enterprises Grant, SPACE grants use funding from the American Rescue Plan to help expand local businesses and fill vacant storefronts. The Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion received 350+ applications for the new program.

In addition to the grants, the city will assist each business with needs like lease negotiation, accounting, taxes, and marketing. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce + the Associated Industries of Massachusetts are also offering free one-year memberships for additional support.

Recipients will get $40,000-$200,000 over three years, depending on the applicant’s needs. Selected businesses represent a wide range of industries, including retail stores, art studios, daycare centers, bars, and food vendors. Of the businesses receiving grants, 75% are minority-owned + over 60% are women-owned.

Here are few of the awardees:

There will be a second round of funding that will also focus on filling vacant storefronts with local businesses + use the total budgeted $9 million for the SPACE program Applications for the next round will open on Monday, Oct. 2.