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Business Incentive Program Guidelines

Program Overview

The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (DWBIA) introduces the Business Incentive Program (CRSP). the program utilizes rent subsidy to fill previously unoccupied ground floor buildings with new businesses. This program is sponsored, funded, and monitored by the DWBIA. All funding is at the sole discretion of the DWBIA and subject to the DWBIA’s budget.

Program Goal

The goal of implementing the CRSP is to stimulate and enhance economic development and introduce new diversified services within the DWBIA’s boundaries. The DWBIA intends to offer successful applicants offer grant funding for a portion of monthly commercial rent; namely up to 25% of the rent, to a maximum of $625 per month, for a period of 12 months.


New businesses that meet the DWBIA’s eligibility sectors, as outlined in the guidelines, and that are located within the DWBIA’s boundaries. Applicants must submit a business plan demonstrating their ability to stay in business for minimum period of three (3) years.

Eligible Sectors

Experiential Drinking and Dining Services

Experiential drinking and dining is one of the fastest growing trends in the food service industry. Today’s restaurant patron expects more than just good food and service. Patrons are increasingly demanding truly unique experiences when going out to eat with friends and family. Experiential drinking and dining can be as simple as having unique lighting, music, and ambiance, or as complex as having patrons design their own food or beverage.

The applicant must, therefore, demonstrate that the proposed business presents an innovative drinking and/or dining experience that immerses patrons in a cultural, historic, social, and/or brand experience as part of its food and beverage service.


The tech world is continually changing and advancing to provide products and services that improve our lives. The DWBIA envisions downtown Windsor as the technological hub of the Windsor-Essex region, and supports the growth of the tech sector and startups in the city centre through the CRSP. The rent subsidy will be awarded to applicants whose proposed businesses fall under one or more of the following technological areas:

  • Website and app development
  • Data management and hosting
  • Graphic design
  • Computer hardware sale and/or repair
  • Electronics sale and/or repair
  • Clean energy
  • Specialized artificial intelligence
  • Robotics

Other Eligible Sectors

  • Bakery
  • Grocer/Specialty Foods/Deli/Butcher
  • Hardware and Home Improvement
  • Wine Store (Regional)
  • Pet Supplies/Pet Boutiques
  • Art/Music Supplies/Stationery
  • Shoes/Handbags/Accessories
  • Cosmetics/Body Care/Fragrance/Beauty Supply
  • Apparel (Men/Women/Children)
  • Independent Movie Theatre
  • Home Décor
  • Vintage/Antique Stores (Clothing/Accessories/Décor)
  • Toys/Educational (Children)
  • Boutique Gym
  • Bicycle Shop
  • Bookstore

How the Funding Will Be Awarded

Upon approval for funding by the DWBIA, the DWBIA will subsidize up to 25% of the successful tenant/applicant’s rent each month for the one-year subsidy period, up to a maximum of $625/month.


  • Complete the Business Incentive Program application form.
  • Include a business plan along with the application submission.
  • Applicant businesses must represent the commercial sector through one of the listed eligible business areas.
  • The applicant must show proof that the business is registered in Ontario as a Corporation, Sole Proprietorship, or Partnership.
  • Applicants will be encouraged to ‘cluster’ into a similar area as to promote street growth and vitality.
  • The applicant must agree to remain in business and to not sell or assign such business to another person or entity for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of initial funding.
  • In the event the business (applicant) fails to remain open, or the business or property is sold or transferred, within the 12-month grant period the applicant shall reimburse the DWBIA for amounts received.

Application and Approval

  • Applications must be received prior to the business opening.
  • The DWBIA’s Committee of the Whole shall conduct the review of submissions. The review of all submissions is at the sole discretion of the DWBIA.
  • The DWBIA’s Committee of the Whole may request that an applicant attend a Committee meeting to discuss their application.
  • The DWBIA may award funding to an applicant with certain provisions, conditions, or other requirements the DWBIA may deem necessary in the sole discretion of the DWBIA.
  • All applicants chosen and all funding given will be at the discretion of the DWBIA’s Board of Directors.
  • The applicant will be notified, within 120 days of receipt of application, if the DWBIA has approved of the applicant’s application.


  • Payment will be made to the business owner each month for duration of twelve (12) months.
  • The DWBIA may award funding to up to six (6) applicants. Funding applications received after the budget is exhausted may be considered for funding during the next application in-take cycle.
  • For funding to be awarded, the applicant must stay in good standing with the DWBIA and adhere to all DWBIA standards.
  • Prior to receipt of the first monthly grant payment (of up to $625.00) the applicant must provide the DWBIA with a copy of the applicant’s fully executed and binding lease, and a copy of their cancelled rent cheque or a receipt from their landlord.
  • For each successive monthly grant payment (up to 11 additional months), the applicant must provide the DWBIA with a copy of their cancelled rent cheque or a receipt from their landlord receipt demonstrating rent paid for the previous month. Once the DWBIA is in receipt of the supporting documentation, it will release the grant funds.
  • All funding is subject to the DWBIA’s budget and may be withdrawn at any time at the sole discretion of the DWBIA.

Next Steps

  1. Complete the Business Incentive Program form.
  2. Include a copy of your business plan with your submission.

For any questions please contact the DWBIA offices at:

Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association
419 Pelissier St., Windsor, ON N9A 4L2

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