In November 2020, The Brisbane City Council introduced a Suburban Shopfront Improvement Grant to support local businesses. Applications for businesses looking to advantage of this initiate closed on 23rd December 2020. In this current month of February 2021, the Brisbane businesses that applied to receive funding from the city council to upgrade their shopfront are set to find out if their application was successful.

The Council’s new grant program has allocated $50,000 per annum over a four-year period to assist eligible businesses in refreshing the aesthetic of their shop, with the goal of making their shop look more desirable with the hope of attracting more customers.

This is a matched grant, which means the council will not cover the entire cost of the improvements. Funding from the city council will cover up to 50% of cost to visual improvements of exterior, to a maximum of $5000 (excluding GST). Funding that is covered under this grant is limited and not every eligible applicant will be approved, or receive the full amount available.

The grant aims to fund any street-level improvements which make a businesses shopfront look more appealing. This includes; replacing or repairing windows or doors or awnings. The grant will also fund new lighting, painting, landscaping and any new decorative materials or signs.

To be eligible for this new initiate you must be a shopfront located in the suburbs of Brisbane. Businesses located in Brisbane’s Central Business District are ineligible. When applying for the grant the business must obtain written consent from the property owners or tenants who own the space of which the shop is located. Grants are only eligible for small businesses than have 20 employees or less (including casuals). Franchises are ineligible for this grant. The property of where the business is located cannot be part of a shopping centre complex. Staff cannot be employees of Brisbane Council and the property cannot be managed or owned by Brisbane Council, Brisbane Council subsidiary companies or a government agency.

For the purpose of this grant; a “shopfront” is defined as “a physical business premises which has ground floor street frontage, contains display windows and is open to and trades with the public”. Examples of businesses that could potentially take advantage of this grant include; a café, restaurant, gallery, healthcare, retail store or service provider”. Craig Dangar notes that this will bring an opportunity for smaller locations that are often looking tired and run down to fund a refresh, hopefully to improve patronage.

The Brisbane City Councils believes that the money provided under this grant will be hugely beneficial to businesses that are wanting to refresh their branding and make a statement. It also hopes to increase walk in sales as a direct result of visual improvement and will help businesses that want to connect with customers through more targeted branding. The grant also hopes to improve a sense of community pride and assist businesses that now offer new services and products due to COVID that can be advertised effectively.

Businesses that have applied to receive funding under this grant will find out the outcome of their application by the end of February 2021.