BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Applications for the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation’s (BCIC) Business Improvement and Growth (BIG) Grant 2.0 program are now being accepted.

BCIC executive director, Josh Mejia, said the Musk Foundation reached out to assist with accelerating their efforts by providing funding of about $2 million.

The funding provided by the foundation has allowed them to create the new 2.0 program to focus on downtown commercial properties.

“We are hoping that through this program and providing up to $200,000 per property, we are able to motivate these investors to take that next step and be able to create something really special for the community and the entire Rio Grande Valley,” said Mejia.

Mejia explained that the BIG 2.0 grant is different than the original program because this one offers larger incentives and focuses on multi-story businesses.

He shared that there is also a rent subsidy that provides about $1,000 each month for up to 12 months to assist downtown businesses.

The program is intended to help downtown properties with expenses that help put businesses up to code with expansions of fire suppression systems, elevators with ADA compliance, and other big-ticket items, according to Mejia.

He also explained that the program can help investors that are looking to launch their business in the downtown area.

The owner of Main Street Deli, Hector Zavala, is a recipient of the first BIG Grant and said the grant is helping him start a new business on Washington Street.

“We went ahead and did the interior grant, which helped reimburse 50% up to $30,000 and it will help with electrical, plumbing, and AC units that are being installed there, so it is a big help,” said Zavala.

Zavala also said the grant and guidance of BCIC have been a tremendous help and he encourages other investors to take advantage of these available resources.

The deadline for BIG Grant 2.0 applications closes on Aug. 13.

For more information on the grant and other available resources, visit BCIC’s webpage.