Iowa City launches $4 million inclusive economic program

The city of Iowa City has launched a $4 million Inclusive Economic Development Program targeting underestimated businesses and entrepreneurs.

Utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, Iowa City is now accepting statements of interest within two categories until May 1:

  1. Physical space for multicultural business hubs, business collaboration spaces like shared retail or kitchens and youth entrepreneurial and community centers. Eligible expenses include land acquisition, construction, remodeling, furniture and equipment, technology and associated soft costs.
  2. Business support programs that include small business grants and financing programs, technical assistance, community navigating services and similar support networks. Eligible expenses include programs that offer support to individual businesses.

Approximately $3 million in funds is budgeted for physical space applications, while $1 million is budgeted for business support programs.

Informational open house sessions are scheduled for April 6 at Emma J. Harvat Hall. Additional information, full program details and eligiblity requirements can be found on Iowa City’s website.

In September, an inclusive economic development proposal by Astig Planning was presented to Iowa City Council. The presentation stated that more than half of all business owner respondents in the survey spend more than 20% of their business income on rent, above the recommended industry levels.