New program aimed at helping open businesses in downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Whether it's the bustling Brewery District or historic building renovations boasting space for opportunity, Downtown Fresno is taking new shape.

The Downtown Fresno Partnership is taking action to continue that momentum with the "Create Here" grant program, offering money to people wanting to do just that, Downtown.

"There is a lot coming and it's coming fast. If you are looking to seize an opportunity, now is the time," Program Manager Jazzmine Young says. "It's basically a business plan contest to encourage folks who have a dream of opening a business to open it here in downtown Fresno. "

The application process will open January 3 on the Downtown Fresno Partnership home page.

Among the requirements, applicants will need to submit a written business plan.

Young says, "That's the biggest portion of it. It goes through a submission process of submission. Feedback and resubmitting from there."

$15,000 in startup money is up for grabs. A grand prize winner will be chosen along with some assistance going to second and third place winners.

The assistance goes beyond financial, just ask last year's winners -- the owners of Fig and Honey.

Co-Owner Allison Cassabon says, "They have many different resources and classes you can attend. Downtown Fresno Partnership organized a tour for us with the landlords and we spent the day checking out different places they lined up."

The eatery specializes in charcuterie and houses a number of boutique food items. Now thriving on Fulton street, the owners are in the process of opening the 2nd half of their business -- a wine bar.

Cassabon says, "If you're on the fence about applying, just know we're all here to support each other and help each other grow as entrepreneurs. Downtown is where you want to be. "

It's not just recruitment that the Downtown Fresno partnership is looking at. They're focusing on retention for already existing downtown spots with a "stay here" grant that will be available in 2022.
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