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Downtown Raleigh Alliance offers this grant program to help fund and attract new pop-up storefront businesses to Downtown Raleigh.

This grant program is specifically intended to help pop-up businesses with upfit and "stand-up" expenses. This funding opportunity offers reimbursement grants up to $2,500. Pop-up businesses that are 50% or more minority-or-women-owned may apply for an additional $2,500 in funding (up to $5,000). Grant applicants will be reviewed as received, first-come, first-serve with review and approval by DRA staff. 

Goals of the Program

  • Attract new businesses that provide needed/desired products or services within downtown.
  • Help businesses test the market and establish storefront success in the form of pop-ups.
  • Fill and activate storefronts, contributing to the overall vitality of downtown.
  • Increase the likelihood that a pop-up business may take on a long-term lease in downtown.

Program Details

These grants are targeted to assist new pop-up businesses in Downtown Raleigh with lease terms of less than one year. The program intends to help pop-up businesses with upfit and stand-up costs associated with opening a new venture.

  • This is a reimbursement grant. Approved applicants will be responsible for paying for expenses upfront, documenting the expenses, and submitting receipts for approval prior to being issued a reimbursement check. Instructions to do so will be provided. 
  • Grant applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis by DRA staff and an external review committee with DRA staff making the final determination on grant approval.
  • Recipients may be awarded up to $2,500 to help with upfit and stand-up expenses.
  • Pop-up businesses that are 50% or more minority-or-women-owned may apply for an additional $2,500 in funding (up to $5,000). 


  • The proposed pop-up location must be a storefront space inside the downtown element boundary OR inside any of the district boundaries as depicted HERE
  • Minimum three-month lease commitment.
  • A business license is required.
  • Eligible business uses include but are not limited to retail, restaurant, experiential, and service.
  • Professional office uses are explicitly ineligible. 
  • Creative concepts that add new products or services to downtown are encouraged. 
  • Final eligibility determination is subject to DRA staff review. 

Ineligible Expenses

  • Operating costs, such as rent, utilities, COGS, inventory, etc. are NOT eligible. 

Timeline of Process

Phase One: Introduction and Pre-Application Review 

  1. Interest submittal: Interested prospects should fill out the short interest form linked below. DRA staff will promptly follow up for more information and to schedule a “pre-application review” meeting as appropriate.
  2. Pre-application review: A preliminary meeting with DRA to discuss the proposal and provide guidance to the applicant.
  3. Concept refinement: As applicable, prospects should refine concept based on feedback from DRA staff and begin to assemble the documents listed under Phase Two Submission Requirements for application submittal. If a location has yet to be identified or committed, work with DRA staff to connect with potential landlords and explore lease opportunities.

Phase Two: Application Submission, Decision, and Next Steps

  1. Application submittal: Prospects should submit the application linked below. Applicants must also submit additional components listed under Phase Two Submission Requirements including business plan, costs, timeline, etc. DRA staff and an external review committee will review all materials and may contact prospects with questions.
  2. Decision: DRA staff will make the final determination on approval or denial of the grant.
  3. Grant agreement: Approved applicants will be required to execute a Grant Agreement in which the grantor agrees to pay for the authorized work and grantee agrees to complete the work in accordance with the approved application.
  4. Issuance of reimbursement: After installation and completion of the project improvements agreed upon, the grantee submits all invoices to the grantor. After the grantor determines that the invoices are correct and the work has been completed, the reimbursement will be issued.

Phase One Submission Requirements

Prospects are encouraged to submit interest early in development of their concept. DRA maintains a list of available storefront space within Downtown Raleigh and is able to introduce or matchmake prospects with potential landlords and locations to explore lease opportunities.

  • Completed interest form

Phase Two Submission Requirements

  • Completed application linked below
  • Business plan for the pop-up venture
    • Concept description and target market
    • Funding description for the venture and cash flow pro forma
    • Proposed timeline for upfit and projected opening date
  • Detailed description and cost sheet for upfit and stand-up costs 
  • Proof of funds for completion of upfit and stand-up costs
  • Floor plan/layout of physical space
  • Photographs of existing conditions 
  • (If applicable) Written consent from the property owner giving permission to conduct improvements/alterations to the site
  • (If applicable) Detailed proposal from a licensed contractor 

Note: DRA reserves the right to waive submission requirements if mitigating factors or site conditions warrant special consideration. 

Approval & Release of Funds

Any changes to the project must be approved by DRA in order to qualify for reimbursement. Once the grant is approved, the grantee has three months to begin upfit/stand-up and six months to complete and open for business. If one or both of these criteria are not met, then the grantee will be notified in writing that the grant is terminated. Grantees can request an extension if nearing the lapse points. This program will offer grants on a reimbursement basis only. Funds will be dispersed only after all funded work is complete, items are installed, the grantee is open for business, and all other conditions in the grant's contractual agreement are met. Grantees are responsible for documenting expenses and submitting receipts for approval prior to being reimbursed. 

Interest Form and Application

  • Click HERE to submit an Interest Form (Phase One)
  • Click HERE to download the Application (Phase Two) 

Contact Information

For more information or questions about applying for this program, contact:

Roxanne Lundy
Storefront Manager