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Time is almost up for small businesses to apply for Downtown Eau Claire's competitive Jump-start grant

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - The deadline is inching closer for local businesses hoping to apply for Downtown Eau Claire's annual Jump-start grant. 

For the past 17 years, Downtown Eau Claire, Inc., or DECI, has awarded funds to small businesses that are either new or relocating in the downtown area. The competitive grant includes sponsorships from other local businesses such as Royal Credit Union. This year, applications are open to any business meeting that criteria between September of 2021 and September of 2023.

The grand prize is $5,000, a six-month DECI membership, and a three-month flex membership with CoLab. A DECI membership grants a business premium inclusion in their business directory, promotional opportunities, discounted event registration, the opportunity to serve on DECI's Board of Directors, and more.

"Our intent, our hope for the grant is that it really helps a business get off on the right foot," said Dustin Olson, communications and promotions coordinator with DECI. "We know it's extremely difficult to run a small business, yet alone open a small business, so we're hoping that we can provide some assistance in the form of some dollars. Also some marketing and some DECI membership as well."

Funding is also available through a $2,500 honorable mention prize and a $1,000 innovative idea prize.

Olson said past winners include Forage, Blue Ox Running Store, Seven Suns Vintage, and Ramone's Ice Cream Parlor, to name a few.

Applications for this round of Jump-start grants close on September 30. Click here to learn more.

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