Attention Business Owners & Entrepreneurs!

Check out this incredible opportunity to launch your start-up store or business in downtown Cedar Rapids. Through an application process, one business will be selected to receive:

• Your choice of selected downtown rental properties
• $20,000 to use for rent, build out and/or overhead costs
• Chance to become a staple downtown attraction for years to come
• $7,500 credit towards Architectural Design Services and Buildout Support with Form Function Studio
• A complimentary 8-week owner education course to build a more valuable business provided by BerganKDV

This offer is made possible by a partnership between The Downtown Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) and Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.

Applications for Race for the Space closed June 30, 2022 and finalists have been chosen! Meet the three finalists by clicking below!

Frequently Asked Questions

No, this contest is not limited to residents of Iowa. Anyone in the world can apply for Race for the Space.

Those details will be worked out with the appropriate property owner of the space that the winner has chosen. Depending on build out and other set-up phases, this time could vary. However, a September 1 or October 1, 2022, starting lease date is ideal.

Applications must be submitted online via the webpage. Interested applicants should click on the “Apply Now” button on the webpage to submit their application. Every section of the application must be completed, and the requested additional documents uploaded to the application form. All applications must be received by 5 p.m. on June 30, 2022. 

On the application, each applicant will choose which space is ideal for their business and select the location that your business would like to be a tenant in. All available locations, as well as photos, are located on the interactive map on the webpage.

Stakeholders in the Race for the Space program are looking for a business that is unique and could bring something new to downtown Cedar Rapids. All entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply if their business model and target market fit the demographics of downtown Cedar Rapids. Our goal is for the winner to be a staple in the downtown community for years to come.

Applications will open on April 27, 2022, and close on June 30, 2022. During the month of July, the Race for the Space selection committee will review all applications and narrow down the pool to four finalists. These finalists will make an in-person pitch to the selection committee and various members of the Cedar Rapids community. One winner will be chosen in early August.

Race for the Space Locations

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If you have more questions or need more information, fill out this form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.