Application process and what happens after approval

Find out how to apply for a Suburban Shopfront Improvement Grant as well as information about who can apply for the grant, when applications can be submitted, how applications are assessed, what happens after approval and other important things to consider before you apply.

Application process

The 2021-22 Suburban Shopfront Improvement Program is open now with ongoing assessments to commence in December and will continue on a monthly basis until the budget is expended.

Grant amounts

Grants are available to cover up to 50% of the cost of visual improvements to a shopfront exterior, to a maximum of $5000 (excluding GST). The balance cost (50% or more) of the shopfront improvements must be met by the Applicant.

Who can apply?

Applications can be made by the property owner or the tenant (with the property owner’s written consent) of an eligible shopfront.

Where there is a tenant in the shop, that tenant:

  • cannot be a franchise
  • must be an independent retailer with no more than two shops
  • must be a small business (less than 20 employees including part-time and casual staff).

Applicants must not have any overdue Council grant acquittals or outstanding debts with Council. Employees or contracted staff of Brisbane City Council are ineligible to apply.

Assessment criteria and process

Once eligibility criteria are checked, applications will be assessed against the following criteria. Council’s delegate makes the final decision regarding funding allocation.

Criteria Outcome
Impact Proposals that are considered to have significant visual impact will be considered priority projects.
Capacity Applicants must be able to pay for half the project cost as well as adhere to grant deadlines and requirements. Supporting material may be required by Council from the Applicant.
Need Priority will be given to shopfronts in disrepair or in poor to moderate condition, provided the proposed improvements will creatively enhance the shopfront’s appearance.
Character Proposals should demonstrate commitment to improvements that will improve the character of the local business area.

In some instances, successful applicants may not receive the full amount of the funding requested, for example if some works proposed are ineligible, if there is strong demand, or as a result of assessment against the criteria. If the proposal cannot proceed without the full amount of funding requested, this should be indicated in the application.

Important considerations before applying

  • A grant approval must be in place before you commence or pay for any works that you require grant funding for. The grant is not available retrospectively to fund work which has already been carried out and/or paid for.
  • Applicants need to provide two written quotes from licensed contractors, as a further aim of the grant is to provide additional work to the building and construction industry. The grant is not intended for do-it-yourself (DIY) renovations.
  • Applicants are responsible for obtaining any planning and/or building approval that may be required before completing improvements. For further information about this process you can contact Council’s Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) or visit the Business Projects page
  • Any signage that is part of the shopfront improvement project needs to comply with Council’s rules for displaying advertising devices.
  • Applicants should consider whether they have the appropriate insurances in place, for example Public Liability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
  • Successful applicants are required to complete the project and submit an Acquittal Report within 12 months of the grant approval notification. 
  • Successful applicants are required to acknowledge Council’s support by displaying Council’s decal in the shopfront window in a central and prominent position for 12 months and to participate in Council’s marketing and promotional activities in relation to the program.  

How to apply

  1. Ensure you have reviewed the information about eligible shopfronts and the types of works that will be considered for funding.
  2. If you would like to proceed with an application, email the Economic Development team.
  3. A member of the Economic Development team will endeavour to be in contact within two business days to discuss your proposed shopfront improvement and ensure it meets the eligibility requirements.
  4. If you have support from the Economic Development team to proceed, you will be supplied with the application link and can organise the supporting documents required for your application. These include:
    • two itemised quotes for your proposed works from licensed contractors as the grant is not intended for do-it-yourself (DIY) renovations
    • visual mock-up of the proposed improvements, indicating how the proposed work will look from the street 
    • landscape photo of the existing shopfront
    • proof of tenancy
    • if application is made by the tenant, the property owner’s written consent that clearly states their support for the proposed improvements
  5. Submit your application via the online form. The application system will allow applicants to save, develop and print out applications before they are submitted. Applications will only be accepted if submitted via the online form.
  6. Applications will be assessed by the Economic Development team. The team may be in contact to request further information or clarify details of your application.
  7. The assessment will be reviewed by Council’s delegate and the Economic Development team will be in contact to advise if your grant application is successful or unsuccessful.

After approval

Find out what happens after a Suburban Shopfront Improvement Grant is approved, including the payment process, proceeding with the improvement works, acknowledging Council’s support and the acquittal process that is required to report on the expenditure of the grant funding.  

1. Payment

If Council approves a grant for your shopfront, before payment is made you will need to:

  • sign and return a Funding Agreement (to be supplied by Council’s Economic Development team upon grant approval)
  • confirm that the proposed works have not commenced or finished
  • complete a Supplier Details form and provide supporting documents for your account details to be set up in Council’s payment system
  • provide a tax invoice for the funding amount approved.

2. Proceeding with improvement works

Once you have received your grant funds you can proceed with getting the works completed by a licensed contractor/s.

Grant recipients are responsible for obtaining any planning and/or building approval that may be required before completing improvements. For further information about planning and building requirements you can contact Council’s Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) or visit the Business Projects page

In addition, grant recipients need to ensure that any signage that is part of the shopfront improvement complies with Council’s rules for displaying advertising devices.

3. Acknowledging Council's support

Once the improvement works are completed, you will need to:

  • display Council’s decal in the shopfront for 12 months. The decal is 25cm in diameter and needs to be placed in a prominent position where customers can see it as they enter the shop
  • take photos of your upgraded shopfront and post on your Facebook, Instagram or other social media pages acknowledging that Council has supported the improvement through the Suburban Shopfront Improvement Grant.
Graphics demonstrating the placement of the decal. Image of the decal what says "This shopfront improvement is part of Brisbane City Council's committment to local business success. brisbane.qld.gov.au".

4. Acquittal report

Grant recipients must complete the shopfront improvement project and submit an online acquittal form within 12 months of the grant approval notification. 

The acquittal report is required to:

  • confirm that the funding has been used for the purpose intended in the funded application
  • demonstrate that the terms of the funding agreement have been met.

As part of this online acquittal, you will need to provide:

  • detailed tax invoices and receipts (or other documentation) substantiating all expenditure incurred as part of the shopfront improvement
  • clear landscape photo/s of the whole exterior of the shopfront showing the funded improvements
  • photo/s showing Council’s decal in the shopfront
  • screenshot of dedicated social media posts on your Facebook, Instagram or other social media pages acknowledging Council’s support.

Any grant money left over after the completion of the project must be returned to Council.

Acquittals are completed online through the SmartyGrants platform. Successful grant recipients will receive an email from SmartyGrants about this.

Grant recipients with overdue acquittal reports are not eligible to apply for further Council grants.

Last updated: 13 October 2021