Fall 2023 Call for Proposals What is an Impact Partner? Who is eligible for the Impact Partner Grant? What are the selection criteria? How much funding will be awarded? What do I need to submit with my proposal? What is the timeline for funding proposals?
The Impact Partner Grant provides funding to organizations that help underrepresented innovators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses start, stay, and grow in Raleigh.
Fall 2023 Call for Proposals
Calling all impact-oriented companies, social enterprises, non-profits, universities, and innovators that seek to strengthen Raleigh’s thriving innovation ecosystem. The City of Raleigh’s Office of Strategy and Innovation (aka Office of Yes, And!) announces the Fall 2023 Request for Proposals for the Impact Partner Grants. Impact Partner Grants provide funding to organizations that help underrepresented innovators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses start, stay, and grow in Raleigh. The grants are crucial to the Office of Strategy & Innovation’s vision to foster inclusive innovation and achieve the seemingly impossible.
We are looking for innovation ecosystem partners – including startups, non-profits, social enterprises, and universities – with bold new initiatives to enhance the lives of others. Past awardees include District C, Innovate Raleigh, RiOT, and Launch Raleigh.
The Impact Partner Grant allowed us to focus on the 6- or 12-month window rather than the 1- or 2-month window and having that breathing room to make important decisions that align with the values of the organization is invaluable. - District C, past Impact Partner Grant recipient.
The Impact Partner Grant provides financial support and technical assistance from the Office of Strategy and Innovation to implement their proposed programs.
The goals for the Impact Partner Grant are to:
- Support business initiatives advancing innovative economic development strategies that align with the City of Raleigh’s Strategic Plan
- Promote collaboration among stakeholders serving the City of Raleigh
- Connect businesses with additional resources and funding opportunities to support growth
Proposals must be submitted through the online form provided with supporting documents sent via email to Cristina Leos (email@example.com), Senior Innovation Strategist, by 11:59 pm ET on Friday, September 15, 2023. Please include the subject line “Impact Partner Grant Proposal Submission.” See below for more information on what to include in the proposal.
What is an Impact Partner?
An Impact Partner is a community stakeholder that builds a successful, sustainable and vibrant business ecosystem. Put simply, an instrumental partner for economic development.
As Impact Partners, these ecosystem builders:
- create an invisible infrastructure to allow entrepreneurs and small business owners to find resources needed to succeed
- advocate for local entrepreneurs and their companies
- bring these entrepreneurs and companies together in collaboration
- challenge entrepreneurs to grow, and push everyone forward
- are catalysts, connectors, co-creators, and changemakers.
The program provides grants to Impact Partners to help strengthen, develop, implement, and scale programs and resources to assist entrepreneurs, small businesses, and the local workforce in Raleigh.
Who is eligible for the Impact Partner Grant?
Eligible sectors targeted by the program include:
- Technology and Internet of Things (iOT)
- Consumer Packaged Goods and Products
- Design and Creative Industries
- Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals
- Social Impact and Social Innovation
- Professional Services
- Workforce Development
- Manufacturing and Distribution
- Transportation and Logistics
- Retail and retail-related services
- Non-Profit Corporations
We are particularly interested in organizations that support underrepresented business owners or stakeholders. This includes marginalized groups across race, gender, sexual orientation, income, abilities, or other categories by which people have been historically excluded.
Please note that past winners of the Impact Partner Grant may not apply for the same award within 2 years of their initial funding. The full Impact Partner Grant and the Microgrant are considered different awards for the purpose of eligibility. In other words, recipients of the Microgrant are eligible to apply for the full Impact Partner Grant, and vice versa.
What are the selection criteria?
The Impact Partner Grant seeks to fund a specific program or aspect of a business that demonstrates an innovative economic development strategy beyond current operations, such as a new strategy, partner, or program. Please note these are not general operating funds or operational small business support funds.
Proposals must align with one of the following City of Raleigh Strategic Plan Objectives for Economic Development:
- Objective 1: Identify and enhance workforce development partnerships and efforts and actively serve as a conduit to residents, businesses, and resource partners to attract, retain, and engage a talented workforce of various ages, skill sets, and backgrounds to support a diverse, inclusive, and growing economy.
- Objective 2: Cultivate an innovative and entrepreneurial culture based on shared strategic goals.
- Objective 3: Develop strategies and tools that encourage and strengthen the development of businesses throughout the community.
- Objective 4: Maintain and develop amenities and infrastructure to support and encourage jobs and business development and expansion in all parts of the city that provides opportunity for all.
In addition, proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Gap or Need: What is the economic development need within the Raleigh ecosystem that this program will help fill?
- Program Plan: Are there clear goals, objectives, and workplans guiding the program implementation? Is this a new initiative that goes beyond your usual business operations?
- Equity Alignment: How does this program advance diversity, equity, and inclusion?
- Partnerships: What new or existing partnerships will support the success of this program?
- Organizational Capacity: What resources and staff will support the successful implementation of this program?
These criteria are used to help guide the selection process, but the City of Raleigh reserves the right to award funding based on the proposals that the City determines to be best aligned with the policy objectives set forth within the Strategic Plan.
What do I need to submit with my proposal?
Use the submission form provided below to complete your written proposal. If you’d like to preview the questions as you prepare your submission, we have provided a proposal template file that includes all the questions you will need to address in your proposal.
A complete proposal must include:
- Written responses to the application questions via the submission form.
- Program budget sent via email. Proposals that do not include the budget will not be reviewed.
Completed proposals are due to Cristina Leos (firstname.lastname@example.org), Senior Innovation Strategist, by 11:59 pm ET on Friday, September 15, 2023. Please include the subject line “Impact Partner Grant Proposal Submission” when submitting the program budget.
What is the timeline for funding proposals?
August 1, 2023
Impact Partner Grant application opens
August 23, 2023
Virtual Q&A Session #1
Registration link here
September 7, 2023
Virtual Q&A Session #2
Registration link here
September 15, 2023
Impact Partner Grant application closes
The application will close at 11:59 pm ET on Friday, September 15, 2023
|September 15 - October 31, 2023||
Proposal review and evaluation
Proposals will be reviewed by the Office of Strategy and Innovation and a panel of experts within the Raleigh innovation ecosystem. Applicants may be contacted with follow up questions or an interview.
|November 2023||Impact Partner Grant winners selected|
DISCLAIMER: We know innovation comes from organizations of various sizes/industries/stages. Are you not sure you fit 100% of the above criteria but are committed to helping the City of Raleigh foster bold new programs? Apply!
If you have questions or need any assistance completing the application, please send an email to Cristina Leos, Senior Innovation Strategist, at email@example.com with the subject line “Impact Partner Grant.”