Fund Details
2022 Beyond Open Small Business Grant Program
Fund ID


Beyond Open is a $20 million small business grant program administered by the Foundation For The Carolinas (FFTC) and made possible with support from the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund. The Beyond Open grant program will help diverse small business owners in Charlotte-Mecklenburg build wealth by investing in capital assets such as equipment, technology, inventory, and real estate. Beyond Open grants in three categories of support from $5k - $250k+ will enable small businesses, from startups to established businesses, to invest in capital assets for a variety of needs. Beyond Open grants do not need to be repaid.

Foundation For The Carolinas recognizes that nonprofits are critical to community vitality and offers opportunities for a wide variety of nonprofit grants, programs, and support available for review at The Foundation recognizes nonprofit organizations as "businesses" and we are pleased that Wells Fargo has included them on the list of eligible business entities. 

While nonprofits in the community are eligible to apply, please pay close attention to eligibility criteria and focus areas because Beyond Open grants to participating nonprofits will be highly selective and subject to the same process as for-profit companies.

Nonprofit organizations considering applying should consider their ability to make a clear connection between the capital asset for which Beyond Open grant funds will be used and the positive impact on the reported financial income of the organization. While we know nonprofits do great work, it can be difficult for many to meet the standards required for this grant program. For example, a grant requesting funding for an existing program or service expansion is unlikely to be awarded.

Beyond Open grants do not need to be repaid.

Result and Investment Areas:

Subsidy Levels and Uses

Beyond Open grants are intended to help small businesses obtain capital assets such as equipment, technology, real estate (owned or leased), and inventory; Below are examples of capital assets eligible for Beyond Open grants. Operating expenses, including payroll, utilities, advertising/marketing, consulting, and debt repayment, are not eligible for Beyond Open grants. 

For nonprofits, program support and general operating costs are not eligible for Beyond Open grants. 

Build for Success Grants ($5k - $20k)
Build for Success grants will generally help new and emerging businesses meet the needs of smaller capital assets that could make a big difference. Examples of capital assets that could be funded by Build for Success grants include:

·         computers, printers and other small office equipment.

·         cell phones and other communication equipment.

·         small office furniture, exhibition or showroom equipment.

·         hand tools or small electrical appliances.

·         minor renovations or improvements.

·         creation of an e-commerce website or other digital platform.

Grow for Prosperity Grants ($20k+ - $100k)

Grow for Prosperity grants may be best suited for businesses that have established a foothold, reached a level of stability, and are ready to expand. A typical Grow for Prosperity grant could be used to purchase assets including:

·         large inventory purchases.

·         store, trade, office or building.

·         store front beautification or new signage.

·         store fixtures (display shelving, built-in seating and counters, lighting).

·         resurfacing of parking lots.

·         retail site upgrades, HVAC equipment, windows, roof replacement.

·         new vehicles (car, truck, van, food service, delivery) or vehicle upgrades.

·         special equipment, industrial or security, surveillance and surveillance.

Make Bold Moves Grants ($100k+ - $250k+)

Make Bold Moves Grants could be the best option for long-term businesses looking to transform their future through the acquisition of substantial capital assets. A typical Make Bold Moves grant could be used to:

·     purchase a warehouse, other property, or substantial leasehold improvements.

·     acquire state-of-the-art technology, buy larger equipment, replenish the vehicle fleet.

·     switch to a renewable energy source through investments in equipment or technology.

·     other significant capital investments.


  • Diverse business owners (minorities, women, veterans, LGBTQ) in Charlotte-Mecklenburg are eligible to apply for Beyond Open small business grants.
  • Priority and special encouragement will be given to companies located in, near, or with substantial business activity centered around one of the six Corridors of Opportunity:
  • Corridor 1 - Albemarle Road/Central Avenue
  • Corridor 2 - Ferry Beatties Ford/Rozzelles
  • Corridor 3 - Freedom Drive/Wilkinson Blvd.
  • Corridor 4 - Graham/North Tryon St.
  • Corridor 5 - Sugar Creek Rd/I-85
  • Corridor 6 - West Boulevard
  • Small businesses from 1 employee (with the owner counting as an employee) to 499 employees are eligible and are encouraged to apply. 
  • If you are a franchise, you must be an independent and locally owned franchisor. 

If the entity applying for a grant is a nonprofit organization that has been recognized by the IRS as being tax-exempt under section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code, the following eligibility requirements apply:

  • Nonprofit must be currently registered and recognized 501c3 organization at time of application. Current and active IRS letter of 501c3 status will be requested. Start-up, pending, planned or provisional 501c3 status organizations are not eligible to apply for Beyond Open grants.
  • Executive paid leadership (Executive Director, President or equivalent paid leader of the organization) must be BIPOC (Black, indigenous, person of color).
  • Current Board of Directors must be majority BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color).
  • All other eligibility requirements must also be met for nonprofit location within Mecklenburg County and employee count of no more than 499

What We Are Looking For In Your Application

Beyond Open grants will be awarded to small businesses that show potential for growth, a clear connection between the capital asset you seek funds to obtain and HOW this asset will make a difference in the life of your small business. Numbers tell a part of the story, but we will also consider any and all information you wish to share that can help us understand the problems you face, opportunities before you, and goals for the future that a Beyond Open grant can help you solve and achieve. If you feel that any information requested does not tell the whole story, use the comments sections to offer additional information you want to share to provide a complete picture. If you are unfamiliar with documents requested, do not have some documentation or financial information requested, let us know - we are here to help you.

The chart above details the documents that will be required for each of the Beyond Open grant. If a document is not required but is readily available, we encourage you to share it with us to help us make the most informed decision. Nonprofits will also be required to submit a copy of current and active IRS letter of 501c3 status.

We understand that applying for a Beyond Open grant may be a first-time experience for some small business owners and that some of these documents or information may be unfamiliar to you or that you may not have them. Do not let these concerns keep you from applying, as our Beyond Open Community Partner Organizations are here to help you! Reach out to any of the organizations below for guidance and support to build your Beyond Open grant application. For general questions about the Beyond Open grant program, contact us at:

ASPIRE Community Capital is committed to radically transforming lives through wealth creation and upward mobility and helps entrepreneurs in under-resourced neighborhoods start and grow success small businesses in the Greater Charlotte area.



The Institute's Women’s Business Center of Charlotte (WBCC) empowers women-owned businesses to start and grow by offering tools and support to establish their businesses, generate sustainable profits, and strategize for future growth.

call: 704-509-5884 English

call: 704-571-1377 Spanish


Prospera is an economic development, nonprofit organization specialized in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their business in the Charlotte area.

call: 980-729-8273



Application Process and Award Timeline:

Applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm on October 28, 2022. Applications will not be accepted after that time. 

Each application will be reviewed and scored based on the following criteria:

  • Complete application – meets eligibility requirements and required documents are provided.
  • Overall impact of the capital asset in helping the business achieve goals.
  • Clear connection between the capital asset to be acquired with a Beyond Open grant and HOW the capital asset will help solve a business problem, meet a business need, or make the most of a business opportunity.
  • Current business vitality and growth potential.
  • Additional information that may be requested, evaluated and considered. Note: For larger grants in the Grow for Prosperity and Make Bold Moves categories, additional financial information may be requested.
The results of the application will be communicated by email in the middle or end of November. 

Recipients will receive approved funds
by December 30, 2022

Contact Information

For general questions about the Beyond Open grant program, please contact us at

Search Filters:

Geographic Focus:
  • Mecklenburg County – NC
    Begin Accepting Applications Date:
    Deadline Date (EST Time Zone):
    10/28/2022 10:00 PM