According to a Facebook post by Faribault Main Street, the micro-grant program for downtown businesses is back again in 2020. Downtown businesses can apply for micro-grants amounts from $500 to $5000 to go towards "starting, relocating, or significantly expending a business, in the Main Street District of Faribault by September of 2020."

According to Faribault Main Street's webpage "The Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Faribault Economic Development Authority, is excited to offer the Downtown Micro Grant program. This program is open to both proposed businesses and existing businesses in the Historic District. Awards will be based on merit as determined by a panel of independent judges with awards ranging from $500 to $5000."

Businesses that apply for the micro-grant will participate in a 3 stage program, that is judged by a panel of independent judges, that runs June through August. In June applicants will submit a preliminary business idea to the reviewing committee, which will consist of the name of the proposed business, and a description of the business.

If the business passes the judges the next stage is in July where the applicant will be offered a mentor/coach and receive free business plan counseling from the Small Business Development Center office at the Chamber of Commerce in Faribault. Contestants will then submit a detailed business plan to the reviewing committee.

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The best plans in the judge's eyes then move on to the optional third round in August where the applicant makes a 30 minutes presentation of their business plan before the judge’s panel and responds to questions. The highest-scoring finalists and micro-grant recipients will be determined based on all 3 rounds.

To me it kind of seems like three rounds of an episode of Shark Tank.

If you are looking to start a business, or take your existing new business to the next level you can find out more rules, or fill out an application here. Good luck to anyone who puts an idea out there!

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