San Jose Launches $250,000 Grant Initiative to Spur Small Business Leasing Downtown and in Neighborhood Districts

City aims to strengthen economic vitality by helping small start-ups 

SAN JOSE, Calif. The City of San Jose will launch an innovative grant program to enhance the economic vitality of Downtown San Jose and Neighborhood Business Districts (NBDs) by making it easier for small businesses to set up shop. The San Jose Storefronts Initiative will go live at 4:00 p.m. PST, today, Monday, August 5, 2013.

The San Jose Office of Economic Development is offering grants totaling $250,000 for small businesses to offset some of the costs associated with acquiring City permits and paying for related fees and taxes. OED will begin accepting grant applications today, August 5, at through October 2, 2013. The program is geared toward below market leasing in previously vacant spaces.

“This initiative is a way we can help fill street-level storefronts, go from vacant to vibrant and give small-business retailers a running start,” said Kim Walesh, Chief Strategist and Director of Economic Development for the City of San Jose. “This grant comes at an opportune time on the heels of many new retail and restaurant openings in downtown and our NBDs, which are vital economic and community assets.”

Background: Filling street-level vacancies in San Jose’s pedestrian-oriented downtown and neighborhood business districts is a top priority for the City and will benefit nearby businesses and the surrounding neighborhoods. This initiative was proposed by Councilmembers Xavier Campos, Rose Herrera, and Sam Liccardo and adopted by the City Council.

The San Jose Office of Economic Development invites applications from entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, small-business owners, nonprofit organizations, property owners and contractors working with prospective tenants for grants up to a maximum of $16,000 per grantee.

OED is offering technical assistance workshops to assist grant applicants on August 13 and 28, and September 10 and 18, 2013. Applications will be accepted starting August 5 and end October 2, 2013. Notification of grant awards is on October 14. For more information, or to apply for a grant, visit

About San Jose Office of Economic Development
The San Jose Office of Economic Development (OED) is committed to driving a vital and competitive economy that increases prosperity and the quality of life for our residents and businesses. OED guides the City’s economic strategy, provides assistance for business success, connects employers with a highly skilled workforce, and provides art and cultural resources to inspire our community. For more information, go to

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