Boosting Business Blocks Grant

flower baskets and flags

The Boosting Business Blocks (BBB) grant application is currently closed because all funds for fiscal year 2024 have been awarded. Fiscal year 2025 begins July 1, 2024 and a new application will be available then. Please check this website closer to that date.


The Boosting Business Blocks (BBB) grant helps business associations and groups of businesses improve their commercial district or the businesses operating in it. The BBB grant pays for a portion of project costs in the form of a reimbursement check after the project has been completed. BBB funds are a grant, not a loan, and are not considered taxable income. Applicants can receive up to $7,000 per project.

Past BBB funds have been reimbursed to projects that: 

  • Brighten a commercial district by installing flowers, murals, or other public art.
  • Celebrate the unique character of a commercial district through banners or other signage.
  • Encourage visitors to an area by holding special or seasonal events.
  • Host a pop-up event or activity in a building or park that has been vacant or underutilized.
  • Support the growth of businesses by developing new web sites or digital platforms that make it easy to find products and shop online.
  • Offer training to businesses that will help businesses increase sales or work together.

Past Winners

People with masks inside the indestructible foods storefrontThe East Cambridge Business Association (ECBA) partnered with Gather Here to launch the Inman Incubator. The Inman Incubator hosts a rotating selection of local makers in a ground floor commercial space in the heart of Inman Square. The Inman Incubator project was awarded funds to help pay for communal interior furniture like shelves and tables as well as marketing materials for the kick-off of the Incubator.


Central Square signThe Central Square Business Improvement District (BID) reclaimed an old, but prominent, Blockbuster Video blade sign by installing a new, brightly colored and inviting design that welcomes visitors to Central Square. This iconic sign of Central Square has new life a symbol of the arts and culture district.



Person in green jacket looks at stationery at an outdoor market in winter in daylightThe business of Observatory Hill worked together to host a holiday stroll and were awarded funds to promote this event. The businesses purchased branded, commemorative mugs, that were distributed to stroll attendees and used grant funds to create decorations for all participating businesses.


Screen grab of holiday guide including map, pictures of merchandiseCambridge Local First used grant funds to develop an online marketplace that celebrated local businesses. The site helped businesses that didn’t have an existing online platform for sales and helped customers connect with the businesses in a new and exciting way. 


Learn about past projects since the start of the Small Business Challenge in 2017.

Application & Review Process

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until April 15, pending available funds.

Fiscal year 2024 guidelines and application (currently closed)

Grant awards are determined by Economic Opportunity and Development Division (EODD) staff and are certified by a cross-departmental review committee. Together, they consider the following when awarding grant funds:

  1. total project cost
  2. potential impact in a community or given area
  3. lasting impact and sustainability of project
  4. feasibility of project and soundness of proposal
  5. ability of project to be replicated 

All projects, regardless of when funding is awarded, should be fully paid for by June 1 to qualify for reimbursement before the end of the fiscal year (June 30). EODD staff will work with awardees one-on-one to establish benchmarks to ensure grant projects are on track for completion. Grant funds will be awarded upon project completion and submission of evaluation plan results. 

Please contact Sarah Jane Huber at 617/349-4624 or for more information.